Brian Urlacher sits again in practice

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- The injuries continue to mount with the Chicago Bears.

Linebacker Brian Urlacher missed his fourth consecutive day of practice Sunday, and the team prevented running back Matt Forte (thumb) and Earl Bennett (leg) from finishing the workout due to minor ailments.

Urlacher's continued inactivity raises the question of whether he'll play Thursday in the team's preseason opener against the Denver Broncos at Soldier Field.

"There's concern," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "But I think I have a pretty good idea of what Brian can do. So if we don't feel like he should go, we'll hold him out some more. But we haven't made that decision yet."

The team also held out receiver/kick returner Eric Weems (ankle), defensive end Julius Peppers and linebacker Jabara Williams (hamstring). The club didn't identify Peppers' injury, but the defensive end was slowed some in 2011 with an MCL sprain. The club's decision to hold out Peppers appears to be a precautionary measure.

"We have some injuries," Smith said. "We held Brian Urlacher out again. His knee is still a little sore. Hopefully we'll be able to get him out here before long. We'll take our time with Brian. (We) held Julius Peppers out of practice today; nothing serious with him. Eric Weems is getting better each day. He's still not ready to go yet. Jabara Williams hurt his hamstring a little bit. This time of the year you get a few injuries like this."

Forte suffered a thumb injury during an early portion of practice and left the field with athletic trainers. Upon returning, Forte didn't participate in any more practice. Bennett, meanwhile, worked during the portion of practice devoted to positional drills, but stood behind the huddle during team drills and seven-on-seven with a wrap on his leg.

Second-year veteran Dane Sanzenbacher took repetitions with the starters in Bennett's place.

As for Urlacher, the timetable on his return to the field remains a question. The veteran sprained the medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee during a collision with safety Major Wright in the 2011 season finale at Minnesota, and although the injury didn't require surgery, the linebacker is experiencing soreness in the knee in his attempt to return to action.

"It's always a concern when you have an injury at the end of the year and you miss some time in the offseason," Smith said. "But he should be OK. It's not like he really hurt it any more. I assumed he would have some soreness and he would miss a few of these training camp practices."