While hoping for clarity from the end-of-the-week injury report, I should’ve made room for a caveat.
Because it is important to brace yourself for any number of outcomes. Especially if you’re the type holding out hope for good news at week’s end:
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) October 8, 2021
• Four players are already being OUT for Sunday’s Bears-Raiders game. Seeing running back David Montgomery (knee) is the least surprising of the group. It doesn’t hurt any less when you know it is coming, in case you were wondering. Montgomery’s knee injury came up at the end of last week’s win against the Lions, and figures to keep him out for about a month. That Chicago hasn’t put him on IR yet to create a roster spot seems odd. But maybe the team doesn’t feel the need to use that mechanism just yet.
• Joining Montgomery as out for Sunday are tight ends Jesse James (personal) and J.P. Holtz (quad), as well as linebacker Joel Iyiegubinwe. Seeing two tight ends being unavailable stings. Good thing Jesper Horsted (knee) was a full participant in practice throughout the week. That questionable designation aside, I’d lean toward expecting him to suit up this weekend to play behind Cole Kmet and Jimmy Graham.
• The two stud defenders on the injury report were practicing with limitations on Friday. But both have different designations going into Sunday’s game. Pass-rusher Khalil Mack is questionable to play because of injuries to his foot and ribs. Double ouch. For what it’s worth, Mack followed aa similar practice plan last week. Mack started, played, and even contributed with his fourth sack in three games. Considering that Mack isa captain for this showdown, I’d bet on him playing against his former team.
• On the other end of the spectrum, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks was deemed doubtful to play despite practicing with limitations on Friday. Hicks was in on one defensive snaps last week before leaving the game with a groin injury. The Bears announced Hicks was questionable to return after the initial in-game diagnosis, but he never came back. That Hicks was (1) limited and (2) not listed as out suggests the Bears will hold out hope until the bitter end. And I can’t blame them, as Hicks is an important part of this defense.
• Joining Mack and Horsted among the questionable are safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. and linebacker Christian Jones. Gipson didn’t play in either of Chicago’s last two games because of a troublesome hamstring. Meanwhile, Jones (back) is a new addition to the injury report. The Bears are equipped with depth at safety and inside linebacker, but you’d rather have all hands on deck if the option presents itself.
• Perhaps the best news to come out of the injury report is that Darnell Mooney’s groin issue didn’t stop him from being a full participant in Friday’s practice. There is no injury designation for Mooney, who joins Mack and Marqui Christian as captains for Sunday’s game. Quarterback Andy Dalton (knee), running back Damien Williams (quad), and safety Deon Bush (shoulder) were all full participants with no injury designation. Hooray for healthy players.
The biggest downer here is Hicks. But until the Bears rule him out, we’ll hold out hope for the best-case scenario. Even if it feels like a stretch to ask a big man with that motor to test a groin injury that was serious enough to keep him out of most of this weeks’ practice activities.