TEMPE, Ariz. — The first installment of the Arizona Cardinals’ Week 1 injury report was released Wednesday, and on it you will find Michael Floyd’s name with a hand injury and a designation of “Limited” in practice.
Out since Aug. 5 when he dislocated three fingers on his left hand, that he practiced at all leaves open the possibility that he may, in fact, be able to play Sunday when the Cardinals host the New Orleans Saints.
Floyd said Tuesday he’s been getting closer to a return every week since the injury, doing whatever work he could do on the side. That he could possibly be ready for Week 1 is really no surprise to him.
“I think my progression throughout this whole thing has been great,” he said Tuesday. “Obviously you don’t want to miss any games, but if it was Week 6 when I could come back, that’s the time when I have to. I just have to take my time with it, do what the doctors say and go forward with that.”
He took a step forward Wednesday in practice, after which Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said the fourth-year pro looked good. And like Floyd, he too is not surprised at how far the recovery has gone in such a short amount of time.
“No just because I know Michael and he looked really good,” the coach said. “He went 1-on-1s and went a bunch of practice and looked really good. He dove for a ball and caught it, made me hold my breath, but he caught it.”
Prior to sustaining the injury, this was shaping up to be a big year for the former first-round pick out of Notre Dame. Floyd followed up a decent rookie campaign in 2012 with a breakout 2013 in which he caught 65 passes for 1,041 yards and five touchdowns, but struggled with inconsistency last year to the tune of 47 catches, 841 yards and six scores.
He came into training camp in excellent shape, though, and seemed ready to take the next step toward being the kind of player the team thought it was getting with the 13th pick in the 2012 draft.
Floyd could still get there, of course, and though he’s almost become a bit of an afterthought as Larry Fitzgerald has continued his steady play while John Brown and J.J. Nelson emerged as passing game weapons. Yet, getting the 6-foot-2, 220-pound wideout back into the lineup would be be a boon to an offense that is looking to be one of the more explosive in the league.
“Me personally, I’m excited to see what these guys can do,” Floyd said of his teammates. “You know John Brown’s second year, and J.J. We all know what Fitz can do.
“I’m excited for the group of guys that we have because it’s just playmakers everywhere and you don’t have to just key in on one guy, because if they do you’re going to be exploiting it on the other side. I think we have enough talent in our room that we can get the job done every week.”
The only question now is when Floyd will get to be a part of it.
He was not ready to say he will be out on the field Sunday, but did note that physically he feels fine and thinks he is “pretty close,” though he added he won’t play again until the team’s doctors give him the go ahead.
Now when he’s on the field, Floyd will be wearing a special pad for his hand in order to help protect his repaired digits, but so far hasn’t really noticed it impeding his ability to catch the ball.
He’s also not in any pain, really, so the issue he must overcome in order to get back on the field is admittedly mental. Worrying about his hands getting hit or landing hard on the turf is something he knows he cannot do.
So, how does he get past any residual fear? Floyd said getting back to practice, hitting people and making moves would help him get over any mental hurdles he still has left.
“Just making sure that I can do everything that I did before the injury,” he said.