Bears Pro Bowl defensive tackle Akiem Hicks was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, but his season may not yet be over.
Coach Matt Nagy acknowledged Wednesday that the eight-year veteran could be activated off injured reserve late in the season. Every NFL team is allowed to put two players back on their 53-man roster after spending a minimum of eight weeks on injured reserve.
“There is a chance [Hicks returns], but there’s a chance he doesn’t,” Nagy said. “We just have got to figure out exactly what happens with him. We’ve just got to figure out here as we go throughout the weeks exactly how things fit.”
Hicks could resume practicing in six weeks and would be eligible to play two weeks later in the Bears’ Week 15 game in Green Bay.
Huge weapon: If Mitchell Trubisky is cleared to return from a left-shoulder injury and start against the Saints Sunday, Nagy won’t discourage the quarterback from making plays with his legs.
“Run as much as you can; just don’t take extra hits,” Nagy said. “His legs are a huge weapon for us. I’m an idiot if I take his legs away because there are a lot of quarterbacks that don't have his legs. Trust me, 31 other defensive coordinators, ask how concerned they are about him running the football. It’s a weapon.”
Ton of trust: Nagy has seen offensive lines gel during the course of a season and hopes that’s exactly what happens with a Bears unit that has not performed as well as expected.
“I have been part of some teams where there’s been some lines where you’re trying to create an identity,” Nagy said. “I think a lot of it just comes down to the guys and who they are and how they want to handle things.
“It’s really not a hard game. Believe it or not, it’s not. It’s a mindset and an attitude. That’s what all this comes down to. So when you step back and say, ‘OK, how do we get better?’ It’s all about mindset, attitude and then belief and trust in what your coaches are telling you.
“It’s vice versa too. As coaches we’ve got to put them in the best position possible. So, yes, we can absolutely get this thing turned around. I have a ton of trust in those offensive linemen.”
More action: After tight end Trey Burton sat out the season opener with a groin injury, his snap counts have increased every game—from 26 to 38 to 41 to 42. It’s a trend that could continue moving forward.
“I could see it jumping up a little bit more here,” Nagy said, “because that was the plan; the healthier you get, let’s ease you into it rather than just throw you in and not be ready.”
In four games, Burton has caught 11 passes for 57 yards and no touchdowns. In his first season with the Bears last year, he established career highs in all receiving categories with 54 catches for 569 yards and six touchdowns.
The Bears return to Halas Hall from the bye week as they prepare for the New Orleans Saints.