Akiem ‘The Dream’ is back. Not in an official capacity–at least, not yet–but after Chicago Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks met with the media at Halas Hall on Monday, fans and media alike were met with the same fierce and fun presence they have missed since Week 5.
Hicks injured his left elbow against the Raiders in London, and he hasn’t played since. He returned to practice for the first time Sunday, and practiced for a second day in a row on Monday. When he spoke to reporters about the injury Monday after practice, he had a few encouraging things to say.
Bears Akiem Hicks on Possible Week 15 Return
According to 670 The Score’s Chris Emma, Hicks sounded more than determined to be on the field yet this season. “If I can get my body back to a place where I can compete at a high level, there’s nothing that will stop me from getting on the field,” Hicks told reporters.
Hicks also acknowledged that his rehabilitation process has been both miserable and humbling, but the defensive lineman was in good spirits, ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson said.
Hicks will be eligible to return Week 15, when the Bears head to face their biggest rival, the Green Bay Packers, at Lambeau Field.
Is Hicks Very Likely to Play This Season?
On the latest installment of the Under Center podcast, NBC Sports’ J.J. Stankevitz noted that he felt Hicks’ return was imminent, largely because he has put in a great deal of work into rehabilitating. This raises a solid point. Why would Hicks put himself through rehab and through a process he himself said was miserable if he didn’t intend to return?
While neither Hicks nor Bears head coach Matt Nagy have confirmed his return, there’s no doubting the impact he would have on this Bears team should that happen.
The Bears Have Missed Hicks on Defense
Stankevitz and his co-hosts, Laurence Holmes and Cam Ellis, also discussed the impact Hicks has when he’s on the field. Ellis noted that the first four weeks of the season, with Hicks in the lineup, the team did not allow a single 100-yard rusher. “Since then, it’s what? Six of eight, I want to say, teams have gone for 100 yards on them,” Ellis said, also noting that the Bears are still a top 10 defense–but they’re no longer a top 10 run defense without Hicks.
Bears All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack has come under fire for his drop in production since Hicks has been out, and Holmes had an interesting observation about how Hicks and Khalil Mack affect each other and this Bears defense:
“If Akiem Hicks is out there without Khalil Mack, like he was before they made the trade [for Mack], you end up with a very good defense. And if Khalil Mack is out there without Akiem Hicks, you end up with a very good defense. You put them both together, and you have a great defense,” Holmes said.
Whether Hicks returns yet this season remains to be seen–but all signs are pointing up.
READ NEXT: Bears Akiem Hicks Injury Update: The Latest on Bears’ DE’s Return
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