Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson spent enough time last year watching football with an ACL tear while with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
So the last two weeks watching Bears teammates practice and made Robinson antsy while bringing back bad memories.
Robinson said Thursday he'll definitely be back fromm a groin injury on Sunday to face the Detroit Lions, and described himself as "100 percent."
Now he'll need to revise his season goals.
"You know for me the first goal I set out for myself was to play all 16 games," Robinson said. "So, I mean, definitely it was frustrating not being able to accomplish that."
Robinson just seemed to be getting a feel for the offense and for Mitchell Trubisky when he suffered the groin injury, so he hasn't yet had the impact the Bears hoped for when they signed him for three years and $42 million.
Taylor Gabriel, Tarik Cohen and Trey Burton all have 100-yard receiving games for the Bears this season, but Robinson, the deep threat, has a 10-catch, 83-yard day against Seattle as his biggest effort statistically. His long catch is 39 yards.
Now he has to get re-aquainted with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in the offense.
"We’ll just get all the reps in practice, and we’ve been getting some of the reps even though he hasn’t been playing," Trubisky said. "He’s been at practice a little bit so we’ll get him in practice this week and continue to build that chemistry and I think we’ll pick back up right where we left out.”
Robinson isn't worried about the numbers as much as the fact he's getting back in time for a second-half push.
"I think it's big to get back as far as this time, as far as just playing for something," Robinson said. "Just being at all of training camp and all of season preparing for November and December football, you know, hopefully into January, that's the plan. Being back healthy at the right time it's good."
Robinson gets back the same week as the Bears hope they have linebacker Khalil Mack returning from an ankle injury. Both players went through two straight full practices Wednesday and Thursday, so barring a late unforeseen setback they appear ready to go against the Lions.
Robinson called it a relief they're getting back after two straight wins.
“I think that says a lot, I think it’s very big," Robinson said. "And I think it’s very exciting for us. For me and Khalil, it would have definitely been tough on us not being able to be out there, if we didn’t have the outcome that we wanted, to put ourselves in a pretty tough positio. But being able to step back on the field and being 5-3 and still on top of the division, it’s definitely a blessing.”
Detroit's fourth-ranked pass defense poses a problem for Robinson and Bears receivers. The Lions' secondary has been among the league's best over the past five years.
"It's a pretty simple defense as far as structure and things like that, but I mean, they have a ton of athletes on the back end," Robinson said. "I think both sides kind of really complement each other, up front and in the back end. They've got good pass rushers, good DBs, stuff like that."
Mack tried playing through his ankle injury and then sat the last two weeks. In the end, it's probably for the best he took the two days off even if it snapped his personal streak of 70 straight games without missing one. He should be much healthier than when he tried to play through the injury against the Dolphins and Patriots in losses.
"I’m sure it’s difficult; I mean he wants to be out there," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "But sometimes in these types of situations, we have to protect a player from the player.
"You get guys that want to be out there and want to be playing and doing everything that they can, that’s OK. I love that part of it. But we need to make sure that on the health-side of it, are we doing the right thing for him and for our team?”
The Bears defense held the Jets to 10 points and Bills to nine, but the pass rush hasn't been at the same ferocity level since Mack left.
"We felt that way when we were in training camp and heading into the season, and when we added Khalil in the trade, he just elevated everybody even more," Nagy said. "He’s a multiplier.
"For our guys, they have no doubt in their minds that they can play well without him, and I think that’s pretty special to have.”