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As temps rise, so do injuries

5/27/2014

TEMPE, Ariz. -- With the Arizona Cardinals' practice bubble looming nearby, 11 players began practice either on stationary bikes or working with a trainer.

It took just a week into offseason practice for the injuries to begin piling up.

Among the Cardinals' sideline infirmary was rookie safety Deone Bucannon, who suffered turf toe after last weekend's rookie minicamp but "it's nothing serious," according to head coach Bruce Arians. The majority of those sitting out the beginning of practice were rookies. Running back Zach Bauman, wide receiver Kelsey Pope, guard/center Anthony Steen and wide receiver Walt Powell were all off the side at the start of practice.

Veteran linebacker Matt Shaughnessy was among the group going through exercises with a team trainer. Running back Andre Ellington was also on the bike, alongside injured safety Tyrann Mathieu and injured nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu.

"We've got way too many young guys, especially, getting tissue issues an hour and a half into practice and that tells you they're not in shape," Arians said.

Rookie receiver John Brown tested his hamstring at the start of practice but ended up sitting out the rest of the day.

But for all 90 players starting the second week of organized team activities, the air conditioned comfort of the bubble was just a tease. Only those who make the Cards' 53-man roster will get to experience it, Arians said.

There's not enough room in the bubble for all 90 players, Arians said, and the risk for collisions and more injuries just increases.

With temperatures exceeding 102 on Tuesday, the Cardinals began practice 45 minutes ealier with the hope of avoiding the heat for a few minutes longer. Hotter days ahead means earlier mornings for the Cardinals, Arians said.

But there's a benefit to practicing in hot weather.

"It's good for them conditioning wise, mentally to fight the heat," Arians said.

Even the players agree.

"I don't think anybody else is working in the same conditions that we are -- split fields, 105 degrees or whatever it is out here today -– but there's no complaints," said Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, whose practice jersey was drenched into a dark maroon. "Nobody [was] holding their head down. Everybody [was] eager to be out here, getting better and improving."