Some good news emerged from the Bears’ final preseason practice of 2020: Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks was back.
Hicks was not seen at practice for 13 days, beginning Aug. 21, with what coach Matt Nagy said was a quad injury. While Thursday’s practice at Halas Hall was a light walkthrough, it nonetheless was encouraging to see No. 96 going through stretching with his teammates.
The Bears do not have to produce an injury report until next Wednesday. Just because Hicks returned to practice this week does not necessarily mean he won’t be on next week’s injury report. His presence Thursday does not completely alleviate concerns about his availability for Week 1.
The 30-year-old Hicks, though, isn’t someone who’s likely to need much practice to be ready for the season. He’s one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL and is entering his ninth year in the league. It always was plausible the Bears were taking their time with Hicks, though as his absence neared two weeks, it did become more worrying.
Through it, Nagy never sounded particularly worried about Hicks. His return to practice means the worries, now, might shift to the Lions’ offense.
"Any time you see 96 out there that’s a good thing," Nagy said. "We like that and we know opposing offenses don’t."