January 23, 2021

Mitch Trubisky returns to practice, but Matt Nagy mum on Sunday's starter

QB Nick Foles, DT Akiem Hicks were absent from practice Wednesday

Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky returned to practice Wednesday as a full participant and was spotted throwing passes during the brief period that was open to the media. Quarterback Nick Foles was not in attendance.

Both Bears quarterbacks are dealing with injuries, and coach Matt Nagy hasn't yet named a starter for Sunday night's game against the Green Bay Packers. Trubisky injured his shoulder Nov. 1 against the New Orleans Saints on a quarterback keeper. Foles injured his hip Nov. 16 against the Minnesota Vikings.

Foles needed to be carted off the field in the final minute against the Vikings, but the injury was later deemed not as serious as initially feared. Nagy said in the days after Foles' injury that Foles likely wouldn't be placed on injured reserve. That indicated that the Bears believed he could return to the field within a three-week period.

Nagy had said that everything is on the table right now as the Bears try to shake off a four-game losing streak. On Wednesday, he said Foles remains "day-to-day."

"With [Foles] not practicing, Mitch got all the reps [Wednesday] and I thought he did a good job," Nagy said. "It was good to see him out there."

With Trubisky at practice and Foles absent, it opens the possibility that Trubisky could return to the starting job Sunday. The question is how healthy his right shoulder – his throwing shoulder – is at this point. It's also worth wondering if there might be some rust after two months without much game action.

"One of the things that I've taken from this experience, as a coach, and witnessing how Mitchell has dealt with this, I'm very, very impressed with how he's grown week to week," Nagy said.

In September, Trubisky started the first three games of the season but was benched when the Bears fell behind the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3. Foles led the team to a second-half comeback victory.

Foles has started all seven games since then with mixed results. The Bears lost Foles’ first start to Indianapolis, then won two consecutive games against Tampa Bay and Carolina. Since then, they’ve struggled through the current four-game losing streak.

The benching had to take a psychological toll on Trubisky. But an opportunity might be arising this week. While Foles' health remains a wild card, it's sounding more and more like Trubisky could be the guy this week.

"It’s a great opportunity for him to just go out and play quarterback and play it with really an appreciation for what he lost," Nagy said. "When something is taken away from you, how do people react? There are different people that might get angry and they might not have handled themselves well for the last seven, eight weeks, and now they’re not prepared. I feel like it is the opposite for him."

Neither Trubisky nor Foles was made available to the media Wednesday.

Injury updates: Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks was also absent from practice Wednesday. Hicks suffered a hamstring injury against the Vikings. He left during the second half of that game and did not return.

Tight end Jimmy Graham (rest day) and linebacker Danny Trevathan (personal day) also missed practice.

Defensive tackle John Jenkins (ankle), defensive back Sherrick McManis (hand) and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (calf) were all limited participants in practice Wednesday.

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.