When Julius Peppers told reporters the Bears’ Week Six bye would be a good opportunity to “rest up and get guys healthy,” he was not referring to his teammates alone.
The fact that Peppers has played through ailments of his own this season has been overshadowed by the attention paid to Brian Urlacher’s left knee, which continues to hinder the star middle linebacker. It was reported in late August that Peppers was dealing with plantar fasciitis — the foot injury can linger and still might be causing him discomfort — and he was listed on the injury report from Weeks 3-5 with foot and ankle issues. This, after Peppers played much of last season with an MCL sprain in his left knee without missing a game.
Peppers did not appear on the injury report released by the team Thursday, so it appears the time off provided by the bye did him some good. It could not have hurt that the Bears were able to get him some extra rest just before the bye. In lopsided wins over the Cowboys and Jaguars, Peppers played only 65 percent of the defensive snaps (79 of 121).
While Urlacher has looked like a shadow of his old self thus far, Peppers has been a force at times this season. He's tied for third on the team with 2½ sacks, and the Bears and Peppers are well aware that they will need him on the field more when the toughest part of their schedule hits close to midseason.
It would be out of character for Peppers to say much, publicly or privately, about injuries, we hear, but the coaching staff has been mindful of trying to keep him fresh — he was on the sideline for nearly 90 defensive snaps (225 of 314) in the first five games of the season.