Bears hoping DL Akiem Hicks comes off injured reserve, but it’s no certainty

Hicks is eligible to play in Week 15 against the Packers, giving him three potential games if he comes back. But that depends on his health and whether the Bears are playing meaningful football.

SHARE Bears hoping DL Akiem Hicks comes off injured reserve, but it’s no certainty
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Akiem Hicks’ season is in question as he hits IR for at least the next eight games.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks won’t need surgery on his injured left elbow, and that bodes well for a possible late-season return.

The Bears put Hicks on injured reserve this week but could bring him back Week 15 against the Packers if he’s healthy and if the games matter. Teams can bring back two players from IR after they sit eight games, and they don’t have to designate that in advance.

“There is a chance, but there’s a chance he doesn’t,” coach Matt Nagy said of Hicks playing again this season. “We’ve just got to figure out here as we go throughout the weeks exactly how things fit.”

Once the Bears play their eighth game Nov. 3, anyone they put on IR won’t be eligible to return. Hicks is the only player on IR who seems to have any chance of coming back.

He can begin practicing without being added to the active roster two weeks before he’s eligible to play.

Hicks, who turns 30 next month, suffered the injury early in the Raiders game when teammate Khalil Mack hit him in the elbow.

He has been one of the Bears’ top defensive players and made the Pro Bowl last season, when he had 55 tackles, 16 quarterback hits and three forced fumbles. He has two seasons left on his four-year, $48 million contract.

Payton eyeing Mitch as runner

If anything, the Bears might be averse to turning quarterback Mitch Trubisky loose as a runner as he plays through pain in his non-throwing shoulder. But Saints coach Sean Payton isn’t buying it.

Amid a deluge of compliments for Trubisky, Payton highlighted his mobility as a major concern for the Saints’ defense.

“You see someone that’s a confident decision-maker and someone that I think is really athletic with his feet,” Payton said.

“He can move. He can beat you with extended plays, but he can also keep the ball and gain 12 yards.”

That’s an interesting point to raise because running hasn’t been part of Trubisky’s game this year. He has five carries for 21 yards after averaging 30.1 yards per game last season.

“We don’t teach him to look to run,” Nagy said. “We don’t say, ‘Hey, go run on this play,’ or, ‘If No. 1 or No. 2 is not there, go run.’ Let it happen naturally. For whatever reason, [he isn’t running] as much right now, but maybe down the road here depending on what defenses do or don’t do, we could see it more.”

Offensive-line shuffle

The Bears appear to be moving forward with most of their offensive line intact, and backup Rashaad Coward is the most likely candidate to start in place of right guard Kyle Long.

Long went on injured reserve this week with ongoing hip trouble. The Bears started Ted Larsen in his place in Week 4, but he went down with a knee injury and hasn’t played since. He was limited in practice Wednesday.

Coward said he took first-string snaps Monday. As the Bears proceed, they can evaluate Coward, Larsen and recent practice-squad call-up Alex Bars.

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