Bears are optimistic Akiem Hicks will play against Packers after completing 3 practices this week

Rich Campbell, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Football

CHICAGO -- Akiem Hicks' road back from a gruesome left elbow injury is almost complete. The Pro Bowl defensive lineman completed three practices this week and is trending toward playing against the Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

The Bears have until 3 p.m. Saturday to activate him from injured reserve. A corresponding roster move would be required.

"I like what I've seen all week long from him," coach Matt Nagy said after practice Friday. "That's a good thing. We want to get him out there."

Hicks would play with a brace on his left elbow, which became deformed on Oct. 6 when teammate Khalil Mack's helmet hit it during a tackle against the Raiders. Neither the team nor Hicks ever confirmed it was dislocated, but the deformity of the joint indicated as much. It wasn't fractured.

The Bears run defense has held up admirably in his absence. Hicks has played only three full games this season -- the first three -- and the Bears were fourth in the NFL in yards allowed per carry after those games. Now they rank third.

But the value of Hicks' presence shouldn't be underestimated if he's close to full strength. His power in displacing blockers is elite.

"It's another force inside that has to be accounted for," Mack said. "It just makes the game easier (for me). ... His characteristics speak volumes, especially to this defensive group, and I saw that once I first got here. It's going to be huge to have him out there."

In other injury news, returner/receiver Cordarrelle Patterson is expected to play after leaving practice early Thursday as a precaution. He suffered a head injury when he landed hard after attempting a catch, Nagy said.


Cornerback Prince Amukamara will play Sunday after missing the Dec. 5 win over the Cowboys because of a hamstring injury.

Defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris (foot) and receiver Javon Wims (knee) returned to practice Friday and were limited. The Bears listed them as questionable for the game.

Receiver Taylor Gabriel (concussion), right tackle Bobby Massie (ankle), linebacker Danny Trevathan (left elbow) and tight end Ben Braunecker (concussion) are out.

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