Ellington tweaked his left knee late in Thursday’s practice and anticipated playing when he met with the media on Friday. He missed practice Friday and was planning on resting the knee Saturday before going through a pregame workout Sunday.
Without Ellington, Rashard Mendenhall will absorb the majority of the carries with rookie Stepfan Taylor and Alfonso Smith filling in as his backups. Taylor will take over Ellington’s role on third-down runs but it’s likely that none of the backs will line up as a receiver like Ellington did.
On Friday, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said if Ellington couldn’t play, Arizona will just remove a small package from the game plan.
The last time Arizona was down a running back, in Week 8 against Atlanta when Mendenhall sat out, Arians split the carries between Ellington (15) and Taylor (14). That’s unlikely to happen with Mendenhall this week because, now that he’s healthy, he’s showing speed not seen from him since training camp.