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Tyvon Branch, D.J. Humphries: Two more Arizona Cardinals’ starters on IR

(AP photos)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Picking up the pieces after a 22-16 defeat to Seattle on Thursday Night Football meant first taking stock of the injured.

And there were several. All serious.

The Arizona Cardinals lost two starters and a key player on special teams.

On Friday, head coach Bruce Arians confirmed safety Tyvon Branch, left tackle D.J. Humphries and tight end Ifeanyi Momah will be placed on injured reserve, thus ending their seasons.

Branch and Humphries both suffered right knee injuries, while Momah broke his leg and may need reconstructive ankle surgery.

Branch tore his ACL. He’ll need surgery but first he requires an immediate surgical procedure to repair some cartilage damage “because his knee is locked,” according to Arians.

Entering Week 10, Branch was leading the Cardinals in tackles and the top tackling safety in the NFL.

“He was having a great year,” Arians said. “I don’t know if he had the reputation to play in the Pro Bowl but he had the game. He was playing at that level. He bailed us out twice last night when guys were beat and he came over the top and broke up balls. It’s just a shame.”

This is the fourth time in five years, including each of the past two years with the Cardinals, in which Branch is ending a season on injured reserve. After accepting a pay cut prior to 2017, Branch is due to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

Arians announced rookie Budda Baker will step into Branch’s role.

Humphries’ ACL is fine, according to Arians. It’s his MCL that he re-injured plus he suffered a dislocated knee cap. Humphries initially sprained his knee in the season opener and then missed the next four games.

“That’s kind of been a chronic MCL for him now because he had a brace on, so that should fix that problem he’s had,” Arians said.

The recovery time for Humphries is three months, Arians added, which should allow him to return to the field by the start of organized team activities.

“It’s a shame because he was playing really, really well,” Arians said. “He has turned into a true pro; the film study, the extra work out on the practice field. He used to be a jokester. Now he’s serious as heck. He’s about his craft.”

Because the Humphries injury is season-ending, the Cardinals plan to move right tackle Jared Veldheer back to the left side and insert John Wetzel at right tackle.

Veldheer spent his entire seven-year career at left tackle prior to this season.

“He’ll be out best left tackle now,” Arians said.

With three more players headed to injured reserve, that brings the Cardinals’ season total to 11, including seven starters: Branch, Humphries, long snapper Aaron Brewer, linebacker Markus Golden, left guard Mike Iupati, running back David Johnson and quarterback Carson Palmer.

Asked whether the short week—and two games in five days—played a factor in the team’s latest injuries, Arians didn’t hesitate.

“I’ve always felt that but it’s not going away,” he said. “You have to deal with it, but there were some major injuries in that game, both sides.”

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