Arizona Cardinals: 2013 NFL injury wire

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona coach Bruce Arians didn’t need his notepad to evaluate the Cardinals’ offensive performance in their 13-10 win over Tampa Bay. In fact, he needed just one word: “Putrid.”

Here are a few notes from his Monday news conference:
  • Arians said linebacker Daryl Washington will start immediately, most likely alongside Karlos Dansby.
  • The defense played one of its best games this season, Arians said, especially the run stop.
  • Adding to his “putrid” description of the offense, Arians said its troubles are starting to get repetitive.
  • Arians hasn’t seen a team take this long to pick up his offense before.
  • Dan Williams is expected to rejoin the team Tuesday night.
  • Arians said Nate Potter looked “OK” at right guard taking over for an injured Daryn Colledge. The second-year player’s athleticism helped him.
  • Arians also alluded to getting rookie linebacker Kevin Minter back this week.
  • Arians didn’t have an update on the injured players who left Sunday’s game but said they were all minor.

Not clearing Johnson was right move

September, 29, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. -- Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson was not cleared by team doctors to play in Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay, according to a tweet by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

About 90 minutes before kickoff, Johnson was listed among the Cardinals’ inactives.

Johnson will miss the game a week after losing the tip of his left middle finger just before halftime against New Orleans. All week, Arizona coach Bruce Arians said the decision on whether Johnson would play would be left up to Johnson, with pain tolerance emerging as the top deciding factor. However, he still needed to be cleared by doctors.

The fact that he wasn’t cleared did not come as a major surprise.

While he had the finger stitched up and the possibility of infection had decreased, he was still a week removed from losing a body part. Throughout the week, Johnson said the pain had improved, rating it a 6.5 out of 10 on Thursday and then a 4 out of 10 on Friday. However, he couldn’t find a cast to fit properly. Team doctors outfitted him Friday with a cast to cover his hand that resembled a boxing glove, but Johnson and Arians said it wasn’t effective.

The next step was to cast him with his hand in a fist, but apparently that wasn’t the solution either.

As much as Johnson wanted to play -- and as much as Arians wanted his leadership and needed him on special teams -- sitting him out this game was the right decision. One wrong hit and that finger could be damaged more. Johnson's replacement in the starting lineup is most likely to be rookie Tyrann Mathieu, which is not a bad option.

Let the finger heal, avoid any infections or setbacks and suit up Johnson for next week against Carolina at home.
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Only one person besides Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson may know how effective he could be without the tip of his left middle finger: Ronnie Lott.

Lott, the former San Francisco 49ers safety, decided to have the tip of his left pinky finger cut off in 1986. Johnson’s circumstances were different but, like Lott, when he returns to the field, he’ll still have to learn to play without part of a finger.

Johnson, who didn’t practice Thursday, is still day-to-day for Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay. He rated the pain at a 6.5 out of 10, still high but better than where it was Sunday and Monday, he added.

Whether Johnson plays Sunday will be determined by his pain tolerance, Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said. When asked about Johnson’s effectiveness if he plays Sunday, especially with his hand wrapped up, Bowles wasn't sure.

“I have not had a finger cut off so I think you’d have to ask Rashad -- either Rashad or Ronnie Lott,” Bowles said with a laugh. “I obviously don’t know the answer to that question.”

Bowles also said the defensive line misses Dan Williams, who is not with the team in Sarasota while his family grieves the loss of his father, Thomas, who died Friday in a car accident.

“I think they miss him mentally and emotionally,” Bowles said. “But (backup nose tackle Alameda) Ta'amu has come in and done a good job. Just a tragic situation right now. You try to survive until he gets back.”

In other injury news…

The only change to the Cardinals’ injury report was RB Rashard Mendenhall (toe) practiced fully. LB Kevin Minter (hamstring) did not practice. WR Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) and DE Ronald Talley (wrist) fully practiced.

Cards make IR moves, promote Moch

September, 23, 2013

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Arizona Cardinals announced Monday afternoon that outside linebackers Lorenzo Alexander (foot) and Sam Acho (leg) were placed on injured reserve and will miss the rest of the season.

Later, outside linebacker Dontay Moch was promoted from the practice squad.

The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Moch in the third round in 2011, but the Arizona native played in just one game last season and was inactive for all 16 games in 2011.

This leaves the Cardinals with one open spot on the 53-man roster. GM Steve Keim and vice president of player personnel Jason Licht will likley look churn over the waiver wire, don’t be surprised to hear about a few tryouts or a signing quickly.

Practice squad linebacker Kenny Rowe said Monday that he played some defensive end at the University of Oregon in a 4-3 system and could play outside linebacker if needed.

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Arizona Cardinals lost their two starting outside linebackers in Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Monday Lorenzo Alexander and Sam Acho will be placed on season-ending injured reserved. Alexander suffered a Lisfranc injury in his right foot and Acho broke his left fibula.

“Obviously, they’re core people. Their energy will be missed as much as their play,” Arians said. “They’re both high-energy guys and that part of it as a football team will be hard to replace but somebody is going to have an opportunity to step up and do it.”

Who, though, is the question of the day. Arians said the Cardinals will begin addressing the roster voids left by Acho and Alexander later this week.

One option is Alex Okafor, replaced Acho, and played five snaps. Okafor, a rookie from Texas, saw his first action of the season this weekend because fellow rookie Kevin Minter was out with a hamstring injury.

“[He] did fairly well,” Arians said. “[The Saints] did take a long run around his end when he was misaligned one time. But with a full week’s practice, I think he should be fine.”

Behind Alexander on the depth chart is Matt Shaughnessy, who’s often a down lineman, and John Abraham, a pass-rush specialist. Options are limited for a three-down linebacker.

The Cardinals have an internal option besides Shaughnessy and Abraham. Dontay Moch is an outside linebacker on the practice squad and has caught Arians’ attention.

“He’s one of the guys we’ll consider strongly,” Arians said. “He’s done a nice job since he’s been on the practice squad.”

Another potential stopgap could be practice squad linebacker Kenny Rowe, who played defensive end at the University of Oregon.
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Larry Fitzgerald returned to the practice field Friday but is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game in New Orleans.

Larry Fitzgerald
Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians confirmed Fitzgerald’s participation in practice and then evaluated his star receiver.

“Looked fine,” Arians said. “Looked good.”

Fitzgerald was limited again but went through drills and ran routes at full speed during the open portion of Cardinals’ practice. He tweaked his left hamstring during practice on Sept. 11, and then left Sunday’s game against Detroit late in the third quarter.

In other injury news…

RB Rashard Mendenhall (toe) is also questionable. Arians said Mendenhall hurt his toe against Detroit. The coach said it’s not quite turf toe but “it’s damn close.” LB Kevin Minter (hamstring) will not play Sunday. TE Rob Housler (ankle), LB Lorenzo Alexander (biceps) and DE Ronald Talley (wrist) all practiced and are listed as probable.
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald missed a second straight day of practice Thursday as his left hamstring continues to improve.

Fitzgerald made a brief appearance during the portion of practice that was open to the media inside the Cardinals' bubble, working on the hands team during onside kicks. After that period concluded, Fitzgerald ran outside where he worked with Cardinals’ trainers doing some jogging and running through drills.

“Did everything, full day’s workout,” Fitzgerald said. “It was all good.”

When asked if his hamstring was sore, Fitzgerald was succinct.

“I’m fine,” he said. “I’m fine.”

If it was up to Fitzgerald, he will play Sunday in New Orleans.

“I’m expecting to play every Sunday,” he said.

On Wednesday, Arizona coach Bruce Arians said Fitzgerald has earned the right to play Sunday after missing an entire week of practice. The final injury report will be released Friday afternoon.

In other injury news…

Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (biceps) was upgraded to full. Running back Rashard Mendenhall (toe) and linebacker Kevin Minter (hamstring) did not practice. Tight end Rob Housler (ankle) was limited.

Fitzgerald misses Cardinals practice

September, 18, 2013
TEMPE, Ariz. – The Arizona Cardinals held wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald out of practice Wednesday, giving his left hamstring another day to heal. It's unlikely he'll see the practice field this week.

Larry Fitzgerald
“I want him resting today,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “I do not want him aggravating that thing again. We’ll take it day to day.

“He [wanted] to practice and I’m not letting him.”

Arians said Tuesday night on SiriusXM NFL Radio that Fitzgerald might not practice until Friday. Typically, Arians won’t let a player dress on Sunday if he missed practice all week. But exceptions can be made.

“That totally depends on the player,” Arians said. “You'd better have a résumé. We fortunately have one that has a pretty good résumé.”

Of course, Arians was referring to Fitzgerald, who was working with a trainer on an outside field during the open portion of Cardinals’ practice Wednesday. While the other injured Cardinals wore just shorts and their jerseys, Fitzgerald donned his helmet, gloves hanging from the face mask, while he went through exercises.

There aren't specific treatments that could speed up Fitzgerald's recovery process, Arians said. But the coach added that he would approach it the old-school way of just using ice, not with modern technology such as hyperbaric chambers.

The coach said if his star can’t play Sunday against New Orleans, it won’t derail the game plan. However, quarterback Carson Palmer said Fitzgerald’s absence -- if it happens -- would make his job “definitely more difficult.”

Palmer didn’t think Fitzgerald would miss the game.

“I’m not thinking about that,” Palmer said. “I don’t think that’s the case, but anytime you lose one of your playmakers, especially a player of his caliber, it makes it more difficult on the entire team.”

In other injury news ...

Running back Rashard Mendenhall (toe) and linebacker Kevin Minter (hamstring) didn’t practice. Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (biceps) and tight end Rob Housler (ankle) were limited.
Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald may not practice until Friday while his hamstring heals, his coach said on national radio.

Arizona coach Bruce Arians made the comments Tuesday night on SiriusXM NFL Radio, adding that Fitzgerald and the Cardinals will evaluate the injury on a daily basis.

"Fitz's hamstring is no worse than it was but it's not any better, either, " Arians said. "He'll be day-to-day this week and don't know what until we get out there Wednesday.

"I doubt he'll work much until hopefully Friday."

Fitzgerald tweaked his left hamstring during practice last Wednesday and left the Cardinals' win over the Detroit Lions late in the third quarter.

Arians also was asked if Fitzgerald will play Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

"We hope so," Arians said. "We’re still not sure. It’s going to be day-to-day.”

WR Larry Fitzgerald expected to play

September, 15, 2013
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is expected to play Sunday against the Detroit Lions, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported.

Larry Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald tweaked his hamstring during practice Wednesday and was limited for the rest of the week. He was listed as questionable on Friday's injury report.

On Thursday, Fitzgerald told reporters he was "fine," but then added that even if he wasn't healthy, he wouldn't tell the media. On Friday, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said the team would evaluate Fitzgerald on Saturday but speculation about Fitzgerald's health and/or availability escalated when the team promoted wide receiver Kerry Taylor to the active roster from the practice squad on Saturday afternoon.

Fitzgerald has been durable throughout his 10 years in the NFL, missing just four games and spending 17 weeks, including this past one, on the injury report. A breakdown can be found here.
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The last game Larry Fitzgerald missed was Dec. 2, 2007 against the Cleveland Browns.

Larry Fitzgerald
He’s close to missing a game for the first time since then. Fitzgerald was officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s home opener against the Detroit Lions.

“He’s OK,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “He’s doing fine.

“We’ll see more [Saturday].”

Fitzgerald tweaked his hamstring during Wednesday’s practice and was limited the rest of the week.

He only participated in a handful of reps during the open part of Friday’s practice. Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd ran routes with the first-team offense while Fitzgerald watched.

If Fitzgerald's snaps are limited or if he doesn't play, look for Roberts to assume a larger role and take most of the throws that were intended for Fitzgerald. Roberts is more capable of running short, precise routes than Floyd, although Floyd will likely be out wide and used to stretch the field. Rookie Jaron Brown will also be more involved than the two passes thrown his way last week.

Tight end Rob Housler was ruled out Sunday as he continues to rehab his right ankle.

Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (biceps) was also listed as questionable.

Linebacker John Abraham (shoulder), defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (shoulder), Rashard Mendenhall (hamstring) and Roberts (quad) were listed as probable.
TEMPE, Ariz. -- How rare is it for Larry Fitzgerald to be on the injury report?

This week is just his 17th on it in 10 seasons and his first since Week 2 of 2010, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. That’s a total of 146 total regular-season weeks. Fitzgerald is currently nursing a hamstring injury.

A quick breakdown of Fitz’s time on the injury report:
  • He’s been on it in five seasons: 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2013.
  • Longest stay was six weeks in 2006.
  • Shortest stay was two weeks in 2010, not counting his current stay.
  • Including this week, he’s been most hampered by a hamstring (six weeks).
  • He hasn’t missed a game since 2007.

Fitzgerald was limited during the open portion of Friday's practice.

He ran through only a couple of reps during individual wide receiver drills but took over as quarterback for the remainder of those drills, throwing shoulder fades to both sides as well as bullets.

Fitzgerald was a spectator when the offense ran through a few receiver routes.

Fitzgerald on hammy: "I'm fine"

September, 12, 2013
Larry Fitzgerald's name on the injury report is a strange sight.

He's missed just four games in 10 seasons and although a fifth is unlikely this weekend against Detroit, Fitzgerald has been hampered by a hamstring injury this week. He was listed as limited for the second straight day.

"I'm fine," he told reporters in the locker room Thursday. But asked if he would tell the media if he weren't fine, Fitzgerald just laughed and said he wouldn't.

"Never like to be on there, but it’s part of the game," Fitzgerald said referring to the injury report. "Everything’s good though."

Joining Fitzgerald as limited were linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (biceps) and running back Rashard Mendenhall (hamstring). Wide receiver Andre Roberts (quad) was upgraded from limited to full. Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (shoulder) and linebacker John Abraham (shoulder) were added to the injury report but fully practiced.

Tight end Rob Housler didn't practice again but was running and catching passes on one of the outdoor practice fields during the open portion of Cardinals' practice.
Arizona Cardinals tight end Rob Housler missed practice again Wednesday, making it unlikely he will play Sunday against Detroit.

Housler caught passes outside the bubble during the open portion of practice. His right ankle, the injured one, was wrapped to his lower calf. Housler's absence was noticeable in the season opener against St. Louis, especially in short-yardage third-down situations.

“Rob brings a different dimension to the game,” Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer said. “There aren’t a lot of tight ends that can run like he can. It hurts when you don’t have your 11 starters and you have guys filling in.

“Obviously, you’re a starter for a reason.”

Wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) and Andre Roberts (quadriceps), linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (biceps) and running back Rashard Mendenhall (hamstring) all were limited.
Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell missed Friday's practice as the result of a bruised thigh caused, head coach Bruce Arians said, by a teammate.

“It was just an accidental kick in the thigh,” Arians said after practice. “We’ll see how the plane ride affects it.

“It was one of his own guys. Friendly fire.”

Campbell, the only new addition to Friday’s injury report, is questionable for Sunday’s game at St. Louis.

Besides tight end Rob Housler (ankle), who also didn’t practice and will miss the season opener, the only other player who didn’t practice fully was wide receiver Andre Roberts (quadriceps), who was limited.