Bears coach Matt Nagy revealed Thursday that defensive lineman Bilal Nichols broke his hand in last Sunday’s road win over the Broncos.
Nagy said that it’s unlikely Nichols will play Monday night when the Bears visit the Redskins, but the coach also doesn’t think the second-year pro will be placed on injured reserve.
“We’re just trying to go through things to see how that goes as far as the future here,” Nagy said. “For him this week, it doesn’t look good.”
A 2018 fifth-round draft pick out of Delaware, Nichols was voted to the ESPN.com NFL All-Rookie Team last year after recording 28 tackles, three sacks, five tackles-for-loss, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery while appearing in 14 games with six starts.
Nagy acknowledged that there’s a possibility Nichols could play with a club on his hand, but the Bears coach remembers that outside linebacker Leonard Floyd was limited when he did that early last season.
“I suppose you can get to that, but then you get into the whole deal which is something similar to Leonard Floyd last year.” Nagy said. “When you are in the trenches like that you have to figure out where you are with the club, your fingers and using them, that sort of thing.”
Next man up: With Nichols not expected to suit up Monday night, reserve defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris could see expanded playing time.
The third-year pro from UTEP starred in the season opener against the Packers, registering three tackles, one sack, two tackles-for-loss and two quarterback hits.
“He had a really, really good game that first week,” Nagy said. “He showed up everywhere. That was really neat to see, I like him a lot. He’s such a long, rangy player that can disrupt the quarterback’s vision in the pocket and then he showed what he can do rushing the passer and in the run game.
“Hey, it’s an opportunity for somebody to step up, and what better way for him to be able to do that? He gets a chance.”
Nick Williams is another reserve lineman who could help fill the void. Playing in his 30th NFL game last Sunday in Denver, the 6-4, 208-pounder recorded his first career sack when he dropped Joe Flacco early in the fourth quarter.
Prior to joining the Bears last year, Williams played for the Chiefs (2014-16) and Dolphins (2016).
More familiar faces: For the second time in the first three weeks of the season, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will face a team that he played for last season.
The veteran safety, who signed a one-year contract with the Bears in March, was traded from the Packers to the Redskins last October.
“It’s an opportunity for me to go out and showcase my skills against guys that I’m familiar with,” Clinton-Dix said. “I have a relationship with a lot of guys from that team that are from ‘Bama, and just the time I spent there, I created relationships with those guys.”
Clinton-Dix revealed that he considered re-signing with the Redskins during the offseason before decided to ink a one-year deal with the Bears.
“I kind of fell in love with this place once I visited and I couldn’t turn around," he said.
The Redskins roster includes six players who, like Clinton-Dix, played at Alabama: Defensive linemen Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, linebackers Ryan Anderson and Shaun Dion Hamilton, safety Landon Collins and center Ross Pierschbachler.
“Anytime you get a chance to play against your friends, the competition level gets a little higher,” Clinton-Dix said. “You’re a little more excited and anxious to get out there and have fun and play the game I love.”