The best news of the week for Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky came on Friday:
Coach Nagy says Mitchell Trubisky has been cleared to throw and did some throwing at #DaBears practice today.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 30, 2018
Head Coach Matt Nagy revealed that Trubisky has been cleared to throw and threw some passes in Friday’s practice. HOORAY! It marks the first time Trubisky has thrown since suffering an injured right shoulder (that’s his throwing shoulder) late in the fourth quarter of the team’s Week 11 win against the Minnesota Vikings. The injury kept Trubisky from playing on Thanksgiving against the Detroit Lions and made him a limited participant earlier in the week – one who wasn’t throwing at all.
HOWEVA, despite the positive news, Trubisky remained limited in practice and is still doubtful to play against the New York Giants on Sunday. But still … Trubisky getting the medical clearance to throw points toward the growing likelihood he will return for Week 14 against the Los Angeles Rams, when things start to get serious (to say nothing of our joy regarding his long term health status).
As for the rest of the Bears’ injury report, here ya go:
*Please note: DT Akiem Hicks was a full participant today, but is still questionable for Sunday. https://t.co/LwWlmhZ7th
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) November 30, 2018
When the Bears released their original Friday injury report, it featured the letters DNP next to defensive lineman Akiem Hicks for the third consecutive day. But to see the revision that Hicks was a full participant in Friday’s practice brings our optimism levels up to as high as they can get for a game where the Bears will be starting their backup quarterback.
Hicks is questionable to play against on Sunday, but practicing in full capacity suggests he’ll be ready to give it a full-go against the Giants. Had Hicks been unable to play, it would have been a pretty significant blow to the Bears’ tip-top run-stopping defense.
No team has allowed fewer rushing yards than the Bears (889) and the only team to issue a lower yards per carry average than the Bears’ 3.6 is the Saints (3.5) and Hicks is a major part of the reason why. Hicks is Pro Football Focus’ third-highest-graded run-defender, leads the team in tackles-for-loss (9), and QB Hits (11). The Bears defense is still pretty loaded, but having one fewer monster to send at Eli Manning and Saquon Barkley makes the challenge of stopping the Giants offer a tad tougher.
Non-participants in practice were running back/return specialist Benny Cunningham (ankle) and special teams ace/defensive back Sherrick McManis (hamstring). Like Trubisky, both Cunningham and McManis are listed as doubtful to play. This means the Bears’ special teams unit is taking a hit this week. Bummer.
You can figure reserve cornerback Kevin Toliver II to get a chance at playing in McManis’ role on special teams coverage, while Taquan Mizzell Sr. is well-positioned to take over as the team’s top kick return option. Perhaps we’ll see Tarik Cohen get a chance at returning kicks, which hasn’t been something the Bears have showed often this year. Cohen leads the NFL in punt return yardage, but has returned just one kick for 22 yards in 2018.