- Josh Weinfuss, ESPN Staff Writer
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Cardinals guard Jonathan Cooper doesn’t think his turf toe will be fully healthy this season.
Speaking after the Cardinals’ last training camp practice, the 2013 first-round pick said his toe needs “a little time” to finish healing but that may not happen until the season is over.
“I think it’s going to linger regardless,” Cooper said. “It’s just going to be one of those things where there’s going to be some aspect of it that I’m going to feel. Just have to play through it.”
At times, the toe is painful, Cooper said, especially when he executes certain movements. He wouldn’t elaborate on which movements spark the pain, however.
“You kinda hit it just right, and it doesn’t feel very good,” he said. “I’ll be alright.”
After hurting his toe in the first preseason game, Cooper has missed practice since Aug. 11. He returned this camp from a broken leg he suffered last preseason that caused him to miss all of 2013, but Cooper has struggled to overcome some of the mental and physical hurdles that accompany coming back from an injury.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Friday that Cooper will need to play in either Sunday night’s all-important third preseason game or Thursday’s preseason finale in order to be considered for playing time in Week 1 on “Monday Night Football.”
The seventh-overall pick in 2013 understands how essential it is to get game reps before the regular season.
“It’s very important to me, just the moral boost and just to get things rolling into the season, just to kinda build up the confidence, get the reps and get against some live competition again,” he said. “I had to sit out the last game so I would love to get the reps and build that confidence rolling into the season."
To get to that point, Cooper said he’ll have to manage the main so he can be a “functional” player on the field.
“You’re not going to be able to please everybody and continue to work and improve,” Cooper said. “I’ll get healthy at some point and be the player I know I can be.”