- Josh Weinfuss, ESPN Staff Writer
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If it was up to him, he'd be out there again tomorrow. Realistically, he believes he can be back on the field within six to eight weeks.
"I would hope," Mathieu said. "Still puts me right around the bye.
"That's ultimately what I'm pushing for."
Eight weeks exactly would be the Cardinals' bye in Week 4, allowing him another few days to prepare for his return before the Cardinals travel to Denver. Arizona coach Bruce Arians said it won't take long, once Mathieu's healthy, for the free safety to get back into football shape.
"Him? A day," Arians said. "That's all he does. He's watching tape and coaching (rookie safety) Deone (Bucannon), and so it's a matter of him getting healthy."
Mathieu was placed on the preseason physically unable to perform list earlier this week while he continues to rehabilitate from a torn ACL and LCL. During the conditioning test, Mathieu ran a series of 40-yard sprints under the watchful eye of a trainer.
He wasn't quite at full speed but was still outpacing some of his teammates.
"I can run faster than that," Mathieu said. "But like I said, I didn't want to come in here trying to steal the show, so I kinda chilled and I saw B.A. looking at me and I kinda slowed down and not run as fast. It was all for fun."
Keeping himself in check has been challenging lately for Mathieu, who said it's tough not to go 100 percent on the field. In the seventh month of his rehab, Mathieu can run in straight lines, as he showed Friday, but he expected his hamstring to tighten after running that speed.
When it comes to cutting, Mathieu said he can but not as well as running straight ahead.
"I'm 50-60 percent on that side, but I'm still working at it," he said.
Overall, his rehab has been consistent, but Mathieu said he's been increasing weights and speeds in his workouts.
His goal has long been to play on "Monday Night Football" in Week 1 but the likelihood of that gets smaller by the day. It's been hard for him to watch his teammates practice without him and that'll continue Saturday, but Mathieu has been able to keep his chin up.
"I won't say it's depressing," he added. "Obviously, I've been depressed before but obviously it makes me feel some type of way."
With the finishing line just beyond the horizon, Mathieu has to just wait and rehab. The end is near. It began Friday.
"Yeah, it's motivating," Mathieu said. "All I can do is keep preparing like I'm about to practice tomorrow. So hopefully when I do get cleared I'll be ready to go with no setbacks."