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Cardinals DE Markus Golden returns to practice, day-to-day for Week 2

Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Markus Golden (44) lines up against the Green Bay Packers during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Defensive end Markus Golden went through limited drills with his Arizona Cardinals teammates on Wednesday, just more than 11 months after tearing his ACL.

“I walked off the field and that’s what I said: ‘Man, I feel like a football player again,'” the team’s 2016 sack leader said.

Golden is listed as day-to-day, according to Arizona head coach Steve Wilks, who added he doesn’t want to rush Golden back.

The defensive end himself added that he wants to remain patient.

“It ain’t over yet,” said Golden, who had 12.5 sacks two years ago but none in four games before the injury last season. “I don’t want to just be out there playing. When I get out there, I want to be able to be myself. Run around, make plays and just help the team win.

“I was out there practicing today, so you never know what can happen.”

Remaining patient might be difficult with the NFC West’s only loss-less team, the Los Angeles Rams, hosting the Cardinals on Sunday coming off a dominant, 33-13, victory over the Raiders that included a two-touchdown performance from quarterback Jared Goff.

Arizona could be tempted to add a pass-rusher like Golden opposite Chandler Jones.

The Rams, after all, have a formidable attack with Todd Gurley, a pass-catching option at running back, and a receiver corps of new acquisition Brandin Cooks, plus Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. And the Cardinals could especially use a boost after the front seven struggled last week to set the edges and contain a passing attack led by Washington’s Alex Smith, who threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns.

“I miss his energy, his enthusiasm,” Wilks said of Golden on Wednesday. “I think it’s infectious. It carries over to the team. He’s a guy that’s very vocal and you need that on the defensive side of the ball.”

The Cardinals training staff will have the final call.

After the injury, Golden took the harsh advice from then-Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer and safety Tyrann Mathieu — in short, ACL recovery is tough.

Wednesday marked a significant step in coming out on the other side, even if Golden isn’t cleared to play against the Rams.

Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford, who has dealt with his fair share of serious knee injuries, summed it up well.

“Being out there is kind of the light that you’ve been looking at the whole time,” he said.

EXTRA POINTS

– Right tackle Andre Smith is still dealing with elbow soreness, and the team is taking every precaution to help him heal. The good news is nothing serious came back after he underwent an MRI on Monday.

– Second-year linebacker Haason Reddick has packages the Cardinals will use him in, Wilks said, but he’s not considered a starter. Listed on the depth chart as such, Arizona’s 2017 first-round pick hardly played in Week 1 against Washington as the team went with a nickel look and only Deone Bucannon and Josh Bynes playing traditional linebacker roles.

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