(WSCR) Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher has missed six straight practices and concern over his injured knee is beginning to grow.

The Bears have been quiet on why exactly Urlacher is missing practice, but one thing is certain – if the Bears have any hopes of contending in the NFC North, they’ll need No. 54.

“They could sustain an injury (to Urlacher,) but they won’t beat Green Bay,” Matt Bowen of the National Football Post said. “If you want to beat Green Bay, and the way the Bears have competed with Aaron Rodgers in the past, is they’ve been able to play that Cover-2 scheme because of Brian. I’ll tell you what, you want to blitz Aaron Rodgers and you want to play man coverage against Aaron Rodgers all day, you’re going to be in trouble. The Bears are successful and they compete with them – I’m not saying they beat them – because they force Aaron Rodgers in the 3rd and seven to take the flat. (The Bears) take away the middle of the field because of No. 54. I’m not saying Nick Roach isn’t a good football player – he’s a very good football player, but he’s not 54. You want to compete, you want to challenge and eventually beat Green Bay and win this division? You gotta have Urlacher in there.”

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While some have said it doesn’t matter whether Urlacher participates in training camp, Bowen believes it’s important for every player, regardless of how long they’ve been in the league, to practice in training camp.

“I think it’s a concern any time a player misses practice, especially a veteran, during training camp, because that’s when you condition your legs,” Bowen said. “That’s when you go through that grind. You beat your legs down and then you recover going back into the season. I don’t care if you’ve played in one system for eight or nine years, you still have to work on your technique, you still have to practice. That’s why Cutler is out there, that’s why Marshall is out there, that’s why Lance Briggs is out there every day. You have to have some concern with that. Does that mean he won’t be ready for the season? No, that doesn’t mean that, but eventually, you gotta get him back on the practice field. You have to have that during training camp as a player.”