Two of the Chicago Bears’ top defenders landed on Thursday’s injury report:
Bears injury report today
ILB Kwiatkoski (right pec)
DL Hicks (foot)
OLB Young (triceps)
C Grasu (right hand)
— Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell) October 5, 2017
The Bears didn’t appear to suffer any crippling injuries in their 35-14 loss in Week 4 against the Green Bay Packers, but seeing defensive end Akiem Hicks and outside linebacker Willie Young on the injury report as limited participants after is a bit concerning.
Hicks has played on 79.9 percent of the team’s total defensive snaps, which is the most among any Bears player on the defensive line, while Danny Trevathan and Leonard Floyd are the only members of the front seven who have seen more time on the field than Hicks.
If the Bears are without Hicks on game day, it will mean the defense would be without its highest-graded player by Pro Football Focus’ standards. Hicks’ 79.6 grade ranks 30th among interior defenders and is the second highest on the team behind rookie running back Tarik Cohen (79.7).
Young, whose pass rushing grade ranks 87th among 101 qualifying edge defenders at PFF, has played on just 47.8 percent of defensive snaps.
Inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski and center Hroniss Grasu are no strangers to the injury report. Kwiatkoski has been there since suffering a pectoral injury in the team’s Week 2 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, Kwiatkoski’s injury is unlike the one suffered by fellow inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman and isn’t expected to keep him out for the rest of the season.
Grasu injured his right hand in the Bears’ overtime win against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3 and was seen wearing a cast on the sideline later in the game after returning from the locker room, but did not return to the field. The Bears could be cautious with Grasu’s recovery now that guards Kyle Long and Josh Sitton have returned to the lineup, which has moved Cody Whitehair back to full-time center duties.
Perhaps some stability in the middle of the line will get Whitehair back in a comfort zone and producing at a high level. This year, Whitehair has been PFF’s worst pass blocking offensive lineman, which is quite the drop off from his stellar rookie season.