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Bears’ Gabe Carimi calls knee ding ‘just a speed bump’

Gabe Carimi has dislocated kneecap but says “I felt good walking off field.” | Jonathan Daniel~Getty Images

Gabe Carimi has a dislocated kneecap but says “I felt good walking off the field.” | Jonathan Daniel~Getty Images

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Updated: November 30, 2011 12:19AM

Rookie right tackle Gabe Carimi was wrapping up a strong first half Sunday, when — with 35 seconds remaining — he injured his right knee against the New Orleans Saints.

“No one likes injuries. You feel like you get on a roll, then all of a sudden you get nicked up,” Carimi said. “But this is just a speed bump. I’ll be able to get right back out there and do some good things for the team.”

Honoring the club’s policy, Carimi declined to talk specifically about his injury. But as previously reported, he suffered a dislocated right kneecap, which might sideline him for up to a month.

He had several knee injuries at Wisconsin, including a torn MCL in his right knee, but he recognized immediately on Sunday that this latest one wasn’t serious.

“I felt good walking off the field,” phe said. “There wasn’t that serious, unstable feeling.”

Carimi had a dislocated right kneecap in a bowl game in December 2009, but he only missed one series. He said it would be unfair to compare an injury from college to one in the pros.

“You’re not around the facility getting all that treatment,” he said. “So it’s not even fair to give it the same analysis from a [past] injury.”

Carimi also added he wouldn’t rush back too quickly.

“You always have to take track and make sure, when you come back, it’s for the whole season,” he said. “No one wants you to come back for a half a game, and then miss more. So you always have to watch that.”

The swingman

Veteran Frank Omiyale, who started 12 games at left guard in 2009 and two games at right tackle before starting the final 16 games at left in 2010, will start for Carimi at right tackle against the Packers.

‘‘It’s exciting for me. I’m just excited to get back out there with my guys and help them get a win,’’ said Omiyale, who lost his starting job, ostensibly to Carimi, at the start of training camp.

‘‘It was frustrating [to lose the job], but decisions were made and my goal was just to get on board and make sure I made the team so I was around for this situation. And it’s here and I want to make the most of it.’’

Back at practice

Wide receiver Roy Williams (groin) had full participation in practice according to the Bears’ injury report. ‘‘It seems like he’s ready to go,’’ Smith said.

Safety Chris Harris (hamstring), running back Marion Barber (calf) and guard Lance Louis (ankle) had limited participation in practice.

Wide receiver Earl Bennett (chest bruise) and safety Major Wright (head/neck) did not participate in practice.

‘‘Major Wright is feeling better, so we have a few hours still before game time,’’ coach Lovie Smith said. ‘‘Hopefully, we’ll have him available to possibly play.’’

Revolving door at safety

Craig Steltz or rookie Chris Conte could start with Brandon Meriweather if neither Harris nor Wright is able to play Sunday. The Bears have started 13 players at free safety and 12 at strong safety in Smith’s eight seasons as head coach. Harris and Danieal Manning started all 16 games last year. But the Bears haven’t had the same pair of safeties in consecutive seasons since Mike Brown and Tony Parrish in 2000-01.

‘‘We’re kind of getting used to it now. We know it’s one guy here, another guy tomorrow,’’ linebacker Lance Briggs said. ‘‘I have a lot of confidence in Craig Steltz coming to play. And Brandon Meriweather — we didn’t pay him good money to sit on the bench.

‘‘Even if it’s [rookie] Winston Venable. I know one thing Winston’s going to do [is] hit somebody. We’re confident with the guys we have back there.’’

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