Mum is the official word when it comes to the elbow injury suffered by Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks in last week’s loss to the Raiders. And the range of possible return dates is growing quite vague.
For example, one of his teammates, Eddie Jackson, seems to suggest that this recovery period is on something of a before the end of the season timeline, which is pretty vague, and not exactly what you want to hear. Still, Jackson passes on comments that could be viewed as optimistic: “He’s in good spirits. Everybody is confident he can return during the season,” Jackson said in a radio interview on the McNeil and Parkins Show on 670 The Score.
Hicks is in good spirits and an in-season return is expected. Wonderful!
Jackson joins Head Coach Matt Nagy in publicly sharing a belief that Hicks’ injury will not be a season-ender, but again that’s also vague enough for me to struggle to call it good news in the first place. In other words, they wouldn’t need to express optimism over returning by the end of the season, if not returning by the end of the season was even a possibility.
With that said, I tend to believe the fact that they’re talking about Hicks and his possible return at all as a good sign. And if we can take anything positive away from this story let it at least be that this sure does NOT seem to be a season-ending injury.
But you can find even more optimism than that, if you know where to look.
For example … David J. Chao, a practicing orthopedic surgeon, former NFL team doctor, Sports Medical Analyst for the San Diego Union-Tribune, now has an app and a site in which he provides analysis and insight into injuries and recovery periods. And even though Hicks’ return is not imminent, Chao believes the injury is a dislocated elbow that could see the Bears get their Pro Bowl defensive lineman back in 3-4 weeks. (Michael: Ahh … much better).
To be clear, Hicks is not Chao’s patient. But what Chao does provide is analysis based on what he has seen on TV (or in clips sent to him) and uses his knowledge of injuries and medical practices to provide perspective and insight. So an ample grain of salt is necessary, and the analysis should be viewed more as a general commentary on how injuries of certain types tend to play out in terms of football availability.
But remember: 3-4 weeks feels like a best-case scenario and we won’t likely get any clarity on this injury until the Bears return to the practice field and Hicks’ status is shared on the team’s first injury report next Wednesday.
Here’s hoping for the best, because Hicks is one of the league’s top defensive linemen. And if you needed a reminder of that, then look no further than how Josh Jacobs and the Raiders rushing attack performed after Hicks left the game with the injured elbow. Nothing like allowing a rookie to lead the way in gashing your defense to the tune of 169 yards and three touchdowns to provide a fresh reminder of how important Hicks is in the grand scheme of things. And to be clear, Hicks’ absence wasn’t *THE* reason the Bears were bullied up front, but it sure as heck didn’t help matters.
Get well soon, big guy. This team needs you.