The Arizona Cardinals decided against using their single "designated for return" option when placing rookie guard Jonathan Cooper on the season-ending injured reserve list Friday. This counts as a good time to brush up on the various injury-related options available to teams as they move toward the 53-man roster limit Saturday:
  • PUP list: Players moved to the reserve/physically unable to perform list can resume practicing between Oct. 15 and Nov. 19. At that point, they have 21 calendar days to join the 53-man roster, at which point they become eligible to play in games. Players become ineligible for reserve/PUP once they have passed physical examinations for the coming season. Cooper was ineligible for this list once he passed his pre-camp physical. Note that players on the active/PUP list count against active roster limits and can join their teams at any time during camp, provided they pass a physical. Players on reserve/PUP do not count against active roster limits. Michael Crabtree and Percy Harvin recently moved from active/PUP to reserve/PUP, for example.
  • NFI list: The rules and qualifications for the non-football injury (NFI) list mirror those for PUP. The difference is that players on NFI suffered their injuries outside an NFL context, usually either while playing in college or away from the team.
  • IR list: Players on the traditional injured reserve list cannot play until the following season. In some cases, players on IR negotiate settlements allowing them to become free agents in exchange for a reduced portion of their scheduled salaries. These players cannot immediately re-sign with the same team.
  • IR-DFR list: A team can name one player per season to the injured reserve-designated for return list. Players on IR-DFR must be designated as such when placed on IR. They cannot be placed on the list before the Tuesday prior to the regular-season opener. They can resume practicing no earlier than six weeks after placement on the list. They can return to the active roster eight weeks after being placed on the list. There would be no reason to use this designation for any player qualifying under the PUP or NFI rules. Cooper would have been a logical candidate for this list if the Cardinals were confident he could return late in the season.

Posted by's Mike Sando

FNG from Puyallup, Wash., asks: Sando, The Seahawks plan to test [Deion] Branch's knee this week. If it were to not respond well, is he still eligible to be put on PUP as long as he has not passed a physical? If so, would that also be the case after week 1 when [Rocky] Bernard and [Jordan Babineaux] return?

Mike Sando: Rules prohibit teams from placing players on the reserve/physically unable to perform list after the mandatory cutdown to 53 players. The Seahawks had until Saturday to make that decision. They did not place Branch on the PUP list. That means Branch counts against the 53-man limit unless the team places him on injured reserve, which is season ending.

Cardinals place three on PUP

July, 23, 2008

Posted by's Mike Sando

The Cardinals have placed nose tackle Gabe Watson, linebacker Monty Beisel and defensive tackle Keilen Dykes on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Watson is recovering from a knee injury. Beisel has also been injured. Dykes' injury status is not yet known.

The PUP designation is easily misunderstood because players who remain on the list during the regular season must miss the first six games. Watson, Beisel and Dykes have plenty of time to pass physical exams and rejoin the roster in time for the opener. For now, this simply means the players are not eligible to participate in practice.