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Arizona Cardinals place Iupati on IR, elevate Painter from practice squad

Arizona Cardinals guard Mike Iupati (76) during an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Though he had expressed confidence in playing this week, Arizona Cardinals left guard Mike Iupati will not. And won’t for awhile.

The Cardinals announced Saturday they have placed Iupati on injured reserve and promoted offensive lineman Vinston Painter from their practice squad.

Painter has played in eight career games since being drafted in 2013 by the Denver Broncos. He’s bounced around the league, spending time with the Broncos, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins and, most recently, the Washington Redskins. He was signed to the Cardinals practice squad on Sept. 14 after the Redskins released him on Sept. 2.

The news comes after head coach Bruce Arians announced Friday that Iupati needed surgery on his right elbow.

“He had a bone spur that broke off that’s cutting his tendon and he was trying to play with it. He needs to get it done before it cuts it in half,” Arians said, adding “at the best” Iupati will miss at least eight weeks.

 

Iupati had not played the last two weeks, but he was limited in practice both Wednesday and Thursday, signaling a possible return Sunday against San Francisco.

With Iupati sidelined and Alex Boone out with a chest injury, the Cardinals will likely plug-in John Wetzel at left guard. Wetzel has started at left tackle each of the past two weeks, but he may be moved inside should D.J. Humphries be available.

“We’ll see,” Arians said, when asked if Humphries would start at left tackle.

Humphries hurt his right knee in the season opener and has not played since. He was limited in practice all week and is officially listed as questionable.

The Cardinals other guard and tackle options are rookie Will Holden and second-year player Daniel Munyer.

“I’ll play wherever they need me to,” said Holden, who’s seen snaps at tight end this season. “You study the game plans, you kind of know what’s going on and if you’re confident in what you do, you’ll be alright.”

Regardless of what the Cardinals decide to do, it will be their third different offensive line combination in four weeks.

“It can be difficult, but at the same time, we just got to work with what we have,” Wetzel said. “We just got to, in general, just get better as a whole whoever is in there.”

Continuity along the offensive line was an issue last season as well when eight different five-man units were used, including five in the last seven weeks.

Arians, however, doesn’t want to hear any excuses.

“They just got to step up and play,” Arians said. “We always believe in the next man, that’s no bull, that’s the real thing. Your job is now is you’re a starter. Play like one.”

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