- Associated Press - Thursday, September 15, 2011

LAKE FOREST, ILL. (AP) - Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher returned to practice Thursday after the death of his mother and is expected to play at New Orleans this weekend.

Urlacher had missed Wednesday’s practice following the sudden death of his mother, Lavoyda, at her home in Texas on Monday night.

Urlacher is expected to play Sunday at New Orleans (0-1) in the first road game of the season for the Bears (1-0).

“Sometimes when you’re going through tough times like he is right now you want to get back with your support group, which is here with his teammates,” coach Lovie Smith said. “It was good to get him back, see his face and show some support that way. Football is pretty important to him. So you know he’s excited about playing the game this Sunday.”

Urlacher had 10 tackles, an interception and a fumble return for a touchdown in Chicago’s opening win over Atlanta. The 33-year-old Urlacher is in his 12th season with the Bears.

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