When I saw quarterback Mitch Trubisky appear on the Bears’ Wednesday injury report as limited, a hint of optimism sparked within me. But that was quickly stashed aside when I noticed Akiem Hicks on the report as a non-participant due to an Achilles injury.
But Head Coach Matt Nagy addressed Hicks’ injury status and shared some good news:
Matt Nagy says Akiem Hicks achilles injury is "precautionary". Says he might do a little bit at practice today.
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) November 29, 2018
That sound you heard was a big ol’ collective sigh of relief that swept across Bears Nation.
Hicks is Pro Football Focus’ fifth-highest-graded player who falls under the site’s interior defenders category and is a key cog in the Bears very good defense. His ability to absorb (and defeat) double teams, clog running lanes, rush up the field and tear up a backfield with his pass-rushing prowess and run-stopping production has helped transform this top-notch unit. So yeah, the idea of being without him was a cause for concern, to say the least. But that he was held out of practice for precautionary reasons is enough to make us feel better about the situation – at least, for now. Hooray for optimism.
And because Hicks was out as a precautionary measure, it appears likely that he’ll be ready to suit up and play Sunday against the New York Giants – even if he sits out practice. Because while Nagy hinted at Hicks practicing in some capacity on Thursday, it’s more than likely that he’ll take it easy over the next few days.
Worthy of note: Hicks has seen a noticeable decrease in his total snap share this year (72.46%) compared to last (84.97%), but it’s not as if he’s playing poorly. So why cut back on a player’s game snaps in the midst of such a successful season? We can point to this as an example of the Bears better handling a player’s overall workload, and, thus, health. Managing Hicks’ snap share early in the season could better prepare him for the late-season grind and have him ready for some pretty darn important games down the stretch. And if holding him out of practice is part of that process, then this decision is a good one.
We’ll continue to monitor Hicks’ status as more updates become available, but it sounds like the big guy is getting some much-deserved rest while he still can.