The Chicago Bears are on their way to Las Vegas for a
business trip game against the Raiders, but will take the field without one of its key defensive playmakers.
In an announcement sharing a handful of roster shuffling moves, the team declared defensive lineman Akiem Hicks has been ruled OUT for Sunday’s game against the Raiders. Hicks went down with a groin injury on the first play of Chicago’s first defensive series last week against the Lions. And even though Hicks was originally listed was questionable to return, he never got back onto the field. Then he began this week with consecutive days of being a non-participant at practice. A “doubtful” designation after practicing with limitations on Friday gave a sliver of hope he could give it a go, but that was always a long shot.
In Hicks’ absence, expect Angelo Blackson to get some serious burn. The Bears could get creative with defensive packages deploying rookie nose tackle Khyiris Tonga or second-year edge rusher Trevis Gipson in a pinch. But let’s be real with each other. There is no replacing Hicks, his energy, or production. Because even as he enters the final year of his contract, Hicks was putting in work. No doubt the Bears will miss him on Sunday.
The team will also be without running back David Montgomery. Chicago’s leading rusher is going on injured reserve with a knee injury. The knee issue figures to keep him out 4-5 weeks, while NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport tweets Montgomery’s window for return is a 3-5 week period. In other words, the Bears are wise to use an IR spot, clear a roster space, and re-evaluate things with Monty in a few weeks. Maybe Montgomery will be back sooner, rather than later? It’s possible. But there is no reason to rush him back to action.
In the meantime, running back Ryan Nall gets the call (as expected) to be RB3 with a game-day promotion from the practice squad. The Bears can utilize this mechanism once more with Nall before needing to make a decision on giving him a full promotion to the 53-player roster.
Also re-joining the team is Danny Trevathan. The veteran linebacker began the year on IR, and returns in the nick of time just as the Bears are set to take on tight end Darren Waller. I imagine Roquan Smith will handle most of the duties there, but it will be nice to have Trevathan available in a pinch.