Though the Arizona Cardinals will have to learn how to play without Jonathan Cooper, starting center Lyle Sendlein and the team feel good about his replacement and the chance of a late-season return for their rookie.
Cooper, who broke his leg in Saturday’s preseason loss to the San Diego Chargers, was slated to start for the Cardinals at left guard this season. With him now out, Daryn Colledge is moving from right to left guard while Paul Fanaika, who played at Arizona State, will get the first crack at the starting right guard job.
Sendlein gave his full support to Fanaika in his new role, saying, “He’s a physical guy, a local guy, so I’m happy to have him next to me. I think he’s going to step in and do a great job.”
Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is looking at Fanaika’s promotion as an opportunity for the team to get an extended look at the guard. And the team did receive good news regarding Cooper, as Arians said there’s a chance he will return at some point during the season, which Sendlein thinks could be a big boost for the team.
“Not only is it great to have a chance to have him back, I think it will only push him that much harder in his rehab knowing that he has a chance to play again this season,” Sendlein said. “Knowing Coop, he’s going to work hard and do everything he can to get back.”