TEMPE, Ariz. — It’s been six months and two days since Carson Palmer underwent surgery to repair a torn right ACL.
Not that the Arizona Cardinals’ starting quarterback has been counting or anything.
“I don’t know, I don’t want to get into particulars,” he said with a smile, drawing laughter from reporters.
Tuesday morning, the Cardinals held the first of their 10 organized team activities (OTAs) of the offseason and there was Palmer, albeit in shorts, on the field, throwing to receivers covered by defensive backs.
“Felt rusty, like I expected,” he said. “It just felt good to not be around cones and hurdles and step-overs and all the different on-field things that we’ve been using, bags and all the different stuff. It felt good to be around other humans and going (through) 7-on-7 and have that competition, that speed, that quickness of the game because I got a lot of work to do, long way to go.
“Just a good first step for me.”
The action Palmer saw wasn’t much, and really there’s no need for either him or the team to push the envelope, not with the regular season still some four months away.
Yet, it was good to see that No. 3 uniform back in its customary spot, leading the first-team offense.
“I thought he was fantastic,” head coach Bruce Arians said. “He’s been throwing the ball really well in Phase 2 (of offseason workouts). He’s only doing 7-on-7 right now. We might put him back out there in mini-camp in team drills. He could go right now; it’s just me being cautious.
“He’ll try to talk me into something here probably by next week because he’s back there (watching and getting) real antsy in blitz drill today.”
Admittedly, Palmer would like to see more time on the field — “I’ve been politicking with the trainers and the physical therapists. His 12 plays just isn’t enough for me,” the QB said, referring to Arians — but he’s smart enough to know it’s better to be healthy come September, even if that means missing out on a few reps here and there.
“I’ve got plenty of time to do that,” he said about knocking off the rust.
When Palmer took the field, he was greeted by a few long-drawn-out chants of “Carson Palmer” from several members of the secondary.
“Yeah, there was a lot of trash talking going on early,” he said. “That’s the stuff that you miss, too. That’s the stuff that I couldn’t wait to get back in for. They took one on the chin today, defensively, and tomorrow is a new day and we know they’ll come back hard tomorrow.”
Palmer is coming off a season in which he missed 11 games, three with a shoulder injury and then the final eight, including the playoff loss at Carolina, due to the knee injury suffered in Week 10.
Prior to getting hurt, Palmer was 6-0 as a starter, completing 62.9 percent of his passes for 1,626 yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.
He noted after his first real on-field work since undergoing surgery Nov. 18 that he’s still another two months away before he’s “fully cleared to be able to do everything.”
The knee brace Palmer, 35, wore Tuesday will be with him throughout the upcoming season — “It’s like part of my body. I don’t even notice it,” he said — which will mark his 13th in the NFL.
“I feel great,” he said. “Physically, I’m in phenomenal shape. My knee is strong, my leg is strong, my body is strong, so I’m in a good spot.”