For the second straight week, the Bears likely won't know whether Pro Bowl defensive tackle Akiem Hicks will be able to play Sunday against the Raiders in London until shortly before kickoff.
Hicks sat out practice Thursday for the second straight day due to a knee injury he sustained Sept. 23 in a Week 3 Monday night win over the Redskins. The 6-5, 332-pounder missed last Sunday's victory over the Vikings, though coach Matt Nagy said that he was close to playing.
"I feel like he's getting better," Nagy said Thursday. "I think that he's improving, but I don't want to make any predictions because it's going to be a game-time decision with him. I feel like this is a day-to-day thing with him, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed."
Five other Bears missed practice Thursday for a second consecutive day: Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder), receiver Taylor Gabriel (concussion), guard Ted Larsen (knee), defensive end Bilal Nichols (hand) and linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe (hamstring). Backup Chase Daniel is expected to start in place of Trubisky against the Raiders.
Gabriel and Larsen did not travel with the Bears to London and have been ruled out of Sunday's game.
Stepping up: Allen Robinson II has performed like a true No. 1 receiver this season, leading the Bears with 24 receptions and 280 yards, putting him on pace for 96 catches and 1,120 yards this year.
In Robinson's first season with the Bears last year, he caught 55 passes for a team-leading 754 yards and four touchdowns.
"He's always been an elite receiver," Nagy said. "Last year, he was coming off the [knee] injury, he's learning a new offense, he's with a new quarterback, he's with new teammates.
"So you put that all together and right now he's playing fast. He's playing with confidence. He's a guy that our quarterbacks trust. When you have that, a lot of times we like to say, 'When he's covered, he's not covered.'"
Catch this: Javon Wims took advantage of a rare opportunity to play last Sunday against the Vikings—just like he did in last year's season finale versus the same team in Minnesota.
As a rookie last season, Wims was inactive in 11 of the first 15 games and didn't make his first NFL catch until a Week 17 win over the Vikings when he had four receptions for 32 yards.
In his first NFL start last Sunday, the 2018 seventh-round pick from Georgia caught four passes for 56 yards, including a 37-yarder down the right sideline from Daniel.
"Javon stepped up," Nagy said. "He had some nice catches. And there's that confidence in Javon as well just like [Robinson]. Last year, Javon was kind of learning the pro game. Now he's getting more confidence, he knows what routes he's good at, we know what routes he's good at, and he fits in well.
"Coach [Mike] Furrey has done an amazing job with that wide receiver group. They're all growing and they all believe in each other, so when you have that type of room, for me as a play-caller, and for us as coaches, it helps. When somebody goes down, next guy steps up, you have ultimate confidence."
Jumping for joy: No one was more excited about Wims' 37-yard reception than his position coach. Furrey, a former NFL receiver and safety, raced down the sideline and leaped high toward Wims after the play.
"He's always had a pretty good 'vert' now," Nagy said of Furrey. "I think it might have been 26 inches. For a coach, that's pretty good. But the players got on him a little bit. You can see on the cutup, the ones we watch, you can see on the sideline him getting a little bit crazy. But I like that and kind of think it's cool."