Chicago Bears notes: Rookie WR Anthony Miller amped to return from shoulder injury
After missing Week Four following his shoulder dislocation a week earlier, Bears rookie WR Anthony Miller has returned to full participation at practice this week and should play Sunday in Miami.
It’s possible Miller could be fitted with a harness to prevent a reoccurrence, and that could restrict his range of motion or catching radius, but having the second-round pick on the field in any capacity would be an asset.
“I don’t think it’s too much of a challenge,” coach Matt Nagy said about any potential protective device. “The biggest part or issue would be probably extending his arms into the air to try to reach and it would prevent him from that. But there’s the balance of making sure that he’s safe and healthy enough to do that with the brace, so he’ll be fine. He’s pretty tough.”
Toughness is one of the many qualities the second-round draft pick (51st overall) has demonstrated since he burst on the scene early in training camp, showing NFL-ready route running, hands and run-after-the-catch ability. Despite missing Week Four, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Miller has eight catches for 60 yards and one touchdown. He’s anxious to get back on the field.
“He was a million miles an hour last (game) when he was down, and it was good to see,” offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said. “For a young guy like that, he took some shots, (but) he wasn’t comfortable with not playing. And so that’s a good thing.”
Good luck charm
The sleeve that QB Mitch Trubisky wore over his right elbow in his brilliant, six-TD Week Four outing had nothing to do with his performance – at least nothing quantifiable – but fans can expect to see it again.
“I had a little cut on my arm a few weeks ago, and then it reopened in Arizona on the first drive and was just gushing everywhere,” Trubisky explained. “I didn’t want that to happen (against Tampa), and I covered it up. And then you play pretty well, some superstition, call it what you want. I also got a lot of threats that I have to wear it, so ...”
Relieved to be back
DL Akiem Hicks will be pumped up and ready to rumble when he takes the field at noon Sunday against the Dolphins, especially since he missed the second half of the Week Four game following his ejection for pushing an official.
Hicks was slapped with a $34,325 fine and penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, but he avoided suspension.
“Very relieved,” the apologetic Hicks said. “There’s no feeling like going into the locker room just before halftime by yourself. It’s just not something you’re accustomed to. It was definitely a relief to not be suspended, but also it was a time for reflection for myself. I just look more at the possible penalties -- what could have happened, the damage I could have done to our team. Let’s say we were in a third-and-short, and I get a penalty like that, and now they’ve got a first down and a chance to win the game. You have to be more disciplined.”
A respected team leader with no past history of irresponsible behavior on or off the field, Hicks felt the need to address his teammates in the aftermath.
“I know there are a lot of young guys that look up to me on this team, and it’s hypocritical of me to go out there and do things like that and come back to the locker room and think that everything’s gravy” he said. “It doesn’t work that way. So I wanted to make sure that our guys knew how I felt about the situation, and then I spent time with you guys (the media). I wanted them to know how I felt about the situation and how wrong my response was to the situation.”
Risk vs. reward
Mitch Trubisky tied Jordan Howard for the team lead in rushing with 53 yards in Week Four with 53 yards, and he needed just three carries to do it.
But there’s a delicate balance between using Trubisky’s running ability as a weapon and not wanting to risk injury.
“That’s the question you never want to know the answer to: ‘How many carries are too many?’ ” Offensive coordinator Mark Helfrch said. “But he has to be an equalizer, and I think the way he’s made up he will always want to have that element. He’s a guy that wants the ball in his hands. In that kind of situation, he wants the rock and having that ball in his hands last, where he’s making that decision, that allows us to be a little more diverse in what we can do. It’s not just dive right, it’s a couple other elements to it.”
Trubisky’s aware of the benefits. He has to weigh those but continue to play his game.
“I’m always going to try to be an aggressive runner and the emphasis that coach puts on it is just make sure you’re taking care of the football and make sure you’re taking care of yourself, not taking any unnecessary hits and getting down” he said. “But I’m going to continue to be aggressive. One of the big runs was designed last week and one was just a scrambling drill. Just continue my instincts and abilities that when things break down, hopefully play with my feet and when it’s designed just continue to do my job and keep the defense honest.
CB Prince Amuamara and OL Eric Kush both were full participants In Friday’s practice and are expected to play Sunday. CB Marcus Cooper did not practice ad is out. In Miami, top pass rusher Cameron Wake (knee) is doubtful, while QB Ryan Tannehill (shoulder), CB Bobby McCain, DE Charles Harris, WRs DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant and LT Laremy Tunsil are among the Dolphins listed as questionable on the final injury report.