Bears' Mack, Robinson Trending Toward Returns

The Bears have several players returning to health ahead of a key stretch.

Chris Emma
November 07, 2018 - 2:55 pm
Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack, left

Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- Ahead of a critical stretch of division games, the Bears are becoming a healthier team.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Bears returned a number of players to practice, with star outside linebacker Khalil Mack (right ankle) and top receiving target Allen Robinson (groin) both working officially as full participants. The team is hopeful that each can practice for the full week ahead of a matchup against the Lions on Sunday at Soldier Field.

The Bears are also returned tight end Adam Shaheen (foot/ankle), tight end Ben Braunecker (concussion) and defensive lineman Bilal Nichols (knee) to practice as full participants.

"Each of them, we don't know their exact capacity," Nagy said before practicec. "And that's part of the evaluation process, is kind of seeing where they're at. But we do hope to have those guys out there, which would be good for us to try to see where we're at health-wise. They're all obviously valuable players."

Mack and Robinson each suffered their injuries in a loss at Miami on Oct. 14, missing the last two games as a result. Mack had played in all 70 career games before being sidelined in a win against the Jets on Oct. 28. The Bears had operated all along with the hope that each player could return to action against the Lions on Sunday, a matchup that begins a stretch of three NFC North games in a 12-day span.

Mack got off to a stellar start with the Bears, recording five sacks, four forced fumbles and a pick-six in his first four games, which earned him NFC Defensive Player of the Month honors in September. He had his right ankle rolled up during the second quarter against the Dolphins and was rendered ineffective without full health.

Playing without Mack the last two weeks, the Bears defense held strong against two struggling offenses, holding the Jets and Bills to 19 combined points and yardage totals of 207 and 264, respectively.

The return of Robinson in particular has quarterback Mitchell Trubisky excited, especially as he has gained a greater rapport with targets Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller and Trey Burton in the time without Robinson. He now believes he can blend that continuity together.

"He’s got really high football IQ, handles himself really well as a pro, knows all the receiver spots so he can help other guys get lined up," Trubisky said of Robinson. "He knows how to run routes and how his route fits within each concept to get open. You use all those intangibles along with great hands, route-running ability and being physical allows you to get open and makes it easy for a quarterback. He’s easy to throw to and gets open."

The Bears will likely be forced to wait before returning Shaheen to a game. He has been sidelined since the preseason with the foot/ankle injury and opened the regular season on injured reserve. The team is still without veteran tight end Dion Sims, who remains in the concussion protocol. Receiver Taylor Gabriel was listed as a limited participant due to a knee ailment.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.​