Updated: January 3, 2012 10:39AM
The Bears are preparing for Tyler Palko to start at quarterback for the Chiefs on Sunday at Soldier Field. But if it’s former teammate Kyle Orton, so be it.
‘‘As far as I’m concerned right now, we’re going to see Tyler Palko,’’ linebacker Lance Briggs said. ‘‘It’s Tyler, right? The left — we’re getting the lefty.’’
Palko, who has zero touchdown passes and six interceptions in two starts for the Chiefs, is taking first-team reps in practice this week. But Orton is getting some as well. But it’s not exactly like wondering whether you’re going to get Matt Hasselbeck or Seneca Wallace.
‘‘One’s lefty, one’s righty,’’ Briggs said when asked the difference between Palko and Orton. ‘‘We have to play good Bears defense. We need to stand up.’’
Still, it would surprise no one if Orton starts against the Bears. The Bears faced their former teammate in a preseason game against the Broncos in 2009. Orton was 12 of 16 for 96 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions for an 89.6 rating.
‘‘He knows our defense,’’ middle linebacker Brian Urlacher said. ‘‘It will be fun to play against him again. I liked Kyle when he was here. I like him now — still talk to him every once in awhile. It’ll be like playing a friend.’’
The Bears bid a quick adieu to linebacker Brian Iwuh, who was their leading special-teams tackler with 14 — though only four were solo tackles — but quickly waived him after he suffered a hamstring injury against the Raiders. It’s not known whether he could have returned later this season.
‘‘Well, he’s gone now. So whether he could or not, we’ve kind of moved on and he has,’’ coach Lovie Smith said. ‘‘It’s time for other to move up, guys like Patrick Trahan, Jabara Williams, Kahlil Bell. Our special teams won’t drop off. It’s the same mentality we use with everything else — next guy up.’’
Patrick Mannelly is scheduled to have surgery next week to repair the torn ACL in his left knee he suffered against the Chargers on Nov. 20. Mannelly has played in a team-record 215 regular-season games, including the last 147 in a row. So he’s still getting used to not playing.
‘‘It’s weird,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s weird watching the game on TV. Watching Chris [Massey, his replacement], I feel like it’s my job, but it’s not. Somebody did it before. Somebody will do it after me. But there’s a pride you take in what you do. So it’s a weird feeling.’’
Mannelly said the injury was ‘‘a freak thing.’’ On a PAT, he was pushed back over the leg of guard Edwin Williams.
‘‘It’s a rep I’ve done a thousand times in a game,’’ Mannelly said. ‘‘The guard steps behind you, you take on a block and my foot didn’t get out in tie. My leg was stuck on the ground, I was hit and my knee went and I tore the ACL.’’
Mannelly, in his 14th season, said his goal is to be ready for the start of training camp next summer.
Bears in ‘good shape’
Nickel back D.J. Moore practiced on a limited basis again Thursday. Defensive tackle Anthony Adams, who was inactive of the Raiders game, sat out with a sore back.
‘‘Besides that, we’re in pretty good shape,’’ coach Lovie Smith said.
The Bears are advising fans attending Sunday’s game to arrive at Soldier Field early, because increased security measures at some gates will delay entry into the stadium. ‘‘Fans will be asked to remove all metal from their pockets and hold the items in their hands as they undergo screening,’’ the Bears said in a release.