TEMPE, Ariz. — Rob Housler will not allow himself to look ahead.
He’s expected to make his season debut this week, but there are three days of practice ahead of Sunday’s game at New Orleans.
Right now, that’s his one and only focus: Getting through practice, which he did for the first time, albeit on a limited basis, Wednesday. It was his first on-field action since suffering a high ankle sprain in the the team’s third preseason game against San Diego.
Still, having him on the field is big, especially given his 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame that quarterback Carson Palmer can now target.
“We definitely missed him these first two weeks,” Palmer said.
Of course, Housler’s presence will take on even greater significance should Larry Fitzgerald be limited or even unavailable due to a bothersome left hamstring.
“You never try to do more than what your job requires you to do,” Housler said. “Regardless of who’s out there on Sunday, B.A. (Bruce Arians) is going to call a play and you execute it. That’s my concern.”
Housler had hoped to begin his third NFL season on time, Week 1 with his teammates at S. Louis. Instead, the ankle injury kept him sidelined.
“I was a little surprised,” he said. “I hadn’t really dealt with too many major ankle problems, so kind of playing this one by ear is exactly what I did. It’s unfortunate I missed this much time because I’m dying to get back out there. But just had to kind of go with how it felt.
“It was especially hard here at home last week,” he continued. “You battle, you battle trying to get back as soon as you can and to not be there for that home opener was tough. But each game is just as important as the last.”
Housler was — and is — still expected to be a key piece in Arians’ offense.
“He had a great camp, and it was a shame, because we obviously had a lot of stuff for him,” Arians said. “I’m anxious to see him on the field, and I think he’s anxious to get out there.”
Housler said he’s had no issues with the ankle.
“I feel confident in it,” he said, and then added the obvious, “but there’s only one way to get in football shape and that’s play football.
“It’s going to be good to find out when you’ve got bodies flying around. I’ve been rehabbing and running routes on my own, but that doesn’t simulate changing direction and adjusting to what someone else is doing, trying to take away leverage and stuff like that. It’ll be good to get this one under my belt.”