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Bears’ Akiem Hicks eyes return Sunday

Akiem Hicks hurt his groin on the Lions’ first play four weeks ago.

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears
Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks sacks Aaron Rodgers earlier this month.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks hurt his groin on the Lions’ first play four weeks ago. He lined up over the right guard, slipped underneath a block and dove to try to tackle running back Jamaal Williams.

Hicks tumbled over Williams, who slipped the tackle, and landed on all fours. Linebacker Robert Quinn was pushed on top of him. Hicks went to the ground, came off the field and didn’t return.

“A little bit of a friendly-fire situation,” Hicks said. “When a 250-pound man falls on top of your back, things tend to happen.”

Hicks missed the Raiders game but returned to play 41% of the Bears’ defensive snaps against the rival Packers. He sacked Aaron Rodgers, but his groin hurt even as he did it.

“I knew I wasn’t 100%,” said Hicks, who in 2019 rushed back from a dislocated elbow for the rivalry game. “But it’s hard not to play in that game, you know what I mean? . . . It didn’t perform how I wanted it to, but I was able to show up and play some important reps for my team.”

That mentality makes Hicks the heartbeat of the Bears’ defense. They’ll need him Sunday against the 49ers after he sat out against the Buccaneers. Hicks was limited in practice twice this week but was a full participant Friday. The Bears call him questionable.

Niners coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense ranks 12th with 120.2 rushing yards per game but is two years removed from finishing second in the league. Hicks will buoy the run defense.

“Stopping the run is all mentality, man,” Hicks said. “You’ve gotta want it more than that guy does. We’ve had some performances over the years where we’ve played some of the top running backs in the league at the time or in the course of that year, and we obliterated them. We’ve taken them down.

“It’s something that we stand on and any football team should stand on — shutting down the run. So I would say this: You’ve gotta have that want-to to step out there Sunday and be willing to impose your will.”