The Arizona Cardinals were dealt a big blow in Saturday’s preseason game against the San Diego Chargers, as first-round draft pick Jonathan Cooper suffered a broken left leg on a running play in the second half.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said he did not yet know if Cooper’s injury is the type that will keep him out for a couple months or if it will force him to miss the entire season.
“Right now it’s looking more like the season,” he said.
Cooper was selected by the team seventh overall out of North Carolina, and though he arrived in training camp a couple days late, had earned a starting role at left guard. Losing him for any extended period of time is a severe blow, given that Cooper was expected to help anchor the team’s revamped offensive line.
“Our offensive line had started to gel a little bit and he was playing extremely well,” Arians added. “You hate it for him and you hate it for the entire front, but the next man’s got to step up. That’s what has to happen.
“It’s bad for him, but as a football team we’ve got to go on.”
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald also said he feels badly for Cooper, but that the rookie remains an integral part of the team’s future.
“He’s a big part of who we are going to be and our identity moving forward, not only for this year but for years to come,” Fitzgerald said. “You just feel really bad for him. It’s just an unfortunate part of the game.”
Arians said he did not know who he would turn to to replace Cooper in the lineup, but mentioned Paul Fanaika as a possibility.