Beanie Wells set a career high with 1,047 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns last season.
He won't be threatening that total in 2012, it appears, after the Arizona Cardinals placed Wells on injured reserve with a designation to return after eight weeks. A turf-toe-injury was to blame. The team has re-signed running back Alfonso Smith to fill the roster spot while Wells recovers. Wells can return to practice Nov. 7 and play in the final six regular-season games, beginning Nov. 25 against St. Louis.
Wells, 24, passed 1,000 yards last season despite a knee problem that limited him late in the season. He has played in 46 of 51 regular-season games since the Cardinals made him a first-round pick in 2009, but injuries to the knee, hip, hamstring and groin have landed him on various injury reports, as did general illness for one game.
The toe injury limited Wells against Philadelphia last week.
Wells has played in 20 regular-season games after appearing on the Cardinals' injury report, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He has missed five other games to injury. That means injuries significant enough to sideline Wells or limit his practice participation have affected him in 49 percent of career regular-season games.
The IR designation means Wells must miss the next seven games. Second-year running back Ryan Williams becomes the primary running back heading into a Week 4 game against Miami. The Dolphins are allowing 2.37 yards per rushing attempt, tied for the lowest figure in the NFL. Williams is averaging 3.4 yards per attempt.
Wells has 76 yards through three games. He would have to average 154 yards per game for the final six games to reach 1,000 yards for a second consecutive season.
The Cardinals used the word "severe" to describe Wells' injury in a news release announcing the move.
"Under a new NFL rule, each team is allowed to designate one player to be placed on injured reserve/designated for return who will then be able to come back to practice after six weeks and then be able to play in a game after eight weeks," the release read. "That means Wells would be eligible to begin practicing on Nov. 7 and play on Nov. 25 against the Rams."
Wells must miss games against Miami, St. Louis, Buffalo, Minnesota, San Francisco, Green Bay and Atlanta.