When Beanie Wells went down with a turf toe injury back in Week 3 against the Eagles, times were a little more cheerful in the Valley.
After a seven-game absence from the field, Wells will be back in action Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. It couldn’t have come sooner.
The Cardinals haven’t won in nearly two months and have a lot of youth and inexperience starting on offense.
“Any time, whether you win or lose, it’s hard watching from the sidelines,” Wells said. “You feel bad. I’m no different. I felt like I could have helped out.”
Coming into Week 12, the Cardinals rank No. 30 in the league in rushing offense (82.3 yards per game).
So, Wells should give the running back core an instant boost.
“It feels good and I’m excited about [my return],” said Wells. “It’s been a long seven, eight weeks and I’m ready to go out there and play football.
Wells’ return comes as part of a new league rule implemented before the 2012-2013 season. Each team is now allowed to put one player on the IR/designated to return list with an opportunity to active that player eight or more weeks later.
Following Wells’ injury against the Eagles, second-year back Ryan Williams went down with a season-ending shoulder injury two weeks later in a loss to St. Louis.
While LaRod Stephens-Howling (coming off a career-high 127 yards rush) and William Powell have been admirable substitutes, it’s no small task trying to replace a 1,000-yard rusher like Wells.
He’s back now, though, and ready to fill the void left from his absence, especially in short-yardage.
“That’s one of the places we’ve struggled in over the past few weeks,” said Wells of the team’s inability to capitalize on short-yardage situations. “I certainly feel like one of the pieces to that puzzle to help us get going.”
If there’s anything that can help Wells shake off the rust early Sunday, it might just be his recent history against the Rams.
On Thanksgiving Weekend last season, the former first-round pick out of Ohio State ran for a career-high 228 yards and a touchdown in a 23-20 road win over St. Louis.
Before his injury, Wells had 29 carries for 76 yards.