■ Bears rule out Hicks for game against Chiefs.
The gamesmanship the Bears play with their 46-man game-day roster extends to games against Matt Nagy’s closest friends.
The team spent the week saying everyone available would play Sunday against the Chiefs, but the Bears announced Saturday night that defensive lineman Akiem Hicks is out for the prime-time matchup at Soldier Field.
Hicks returned from injured reserve to play against the Packers on Sunday when the Bears’ playoff hopes were slim but still alive. He started and was on the field for 36 of 59 defensive snaps, wearing a protective brace on his left elbow that he injured during a Week 5 loss to the Raiders on Oct. 6 in London.
Hicks totaled four tackles and two quarterback hits Sunday, but his presence meant more than his contribution on the stat sheet.
“He impacted the game,” defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said. “Just wrecks the game just like he used to do when he was healthy.”
Hicks was not listed on the injury report this week until Friday, when the Bears designated him as questionable. He was listed as a full participant in practice during the week. Obviously they didn’t want to tip off the Chiefs and coach Andy Reid — Nagy’s mentor — in advance that Hicks would not be suiting up.
“It’s just making sure that I do the right thing for my body and making sure that I don’t go out there and hurt myself more,” Hicks said during the week. “I’m sure that’s on the mind of my coaches and GM. So we’re handling the situation the best we know how. And it’s a battle between making sure a guy can go out there and compete and making sure that a guy is healthy. So we’re working that line and trying to make sure rehab is going well and that I’m in the right place.”
Hicks did not have surgery on the elbow after suffering the injury.
“That’s what we want to avoid,” he said. “We want to avoid putting it in a situation where I would have to. But as of now, the healing process has been good. My body has done a good job. And on top of that, we’ve had a great rehab team working on it. So we’re in a good place. It’s just making sure it doesn’t get damaged any further.”
With nothing to play for in terms of the postseason, the Bears decided not to put Hicks at risk. That means it’s unlikely the 30-year-old will play in the Week 17 season finale at Minnesota.
Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks walks off the field during the fourth quarter against the Packers last week at Lambeau Field. He won’t play Sunday against the Chiefs.