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Arizona Cardinals starters Ellington, Iupati targeting return vs. St. Louis

Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) is hit by New Orleans Saints defensive back Delvin Breaux (40) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Ranked first in the NFL in points and touchdowns scored, the Arizona Cardinals are enjoying their best three-week start to a season in franchise history.

And they’ve yet to be at full strength.

Running back Andre Ellington has missed the past two games with a knee injury, while left guard Mike Iupati has not seen any action following August knee surgery.

Both starters hope to be back this week.

“I feel good, man. I feel all right. It was good to get back out today and run around a little bit,” Ellington said, adding about a return Sunday against St. Louis (1-2). “That’s why I’m out there. I want to get on the field, but I’ve got to be smart about it. Each day I’ve been getting better, so hopefully I can continue to get better after today.”

Officially, Ellington and Iupati were limited Wednesday, though both made it through the entire practice according to head coach Bruce Arians.

Iupati, whom the Cardinals signed to a five-year, $40 million contract in March, has been limited in practice each of the past two weeks, but has made steady progress.

“This week’s the goal,” he said. “It has to be.”

Added Arians, “(Mike) looked really good; a lot stronger. He’ll have to tell me he wants to play.”

Iupati wanted to play last week against San Francisco, his former team. He erred on the side of caution however, feeling one more week of work would put him over the top.

The 3-0 Cardinals lead the NFL in points scored (126), total touchdowns (17) and point differential (+77).

In the last two weeks, they’ve scored 48 and 47 points, marking the first time since 1985 that a Cardinals team has reached 40 or more points in multiple games and the first time since 1969 they’ve done so in back-to-back contests.

The Cardinals enter Week 4 as the only team that has yet to face a deficit.

And now last year’s leading rusher and this year’s prized free agent may be added to the mix.

“The sky’s the limit,” Ellington said, referring to the offense. “It’s not saying those guys left something out there because we wasn’t out there or anything like that. It just gives us that much more once we are out there. So, it’s going to be fun. We’ll see.”

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