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Cardinals DT Frostee Rucker to make his return against 49ers

Arizona Cardinals defensive end Frostee Rucker (92) celebrates a stop as New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) gets up during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

It’s rare to have fresh legs with a quick turnaround like the Arizona Cardinals have going into Week 5, but defensive tackle Frostee Rucker is the exception.

Rucker, an 11-year veteran, has not played since the season opener due to a knee injury he suffered early in the fourth quarter against New England.

Rucker is set to make his return when the Cardinals visit the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night Football.

Still on the sidelines, though not because of injury, is rookie defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche. He’s once again inactive. This is the fourth straight game Nkemdiche, the 29th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, will be in street clothes rather than in uniform.

“His ankle looks fine,” head coach Bruce Arians said on Wednesday. “This is a game where if you’re in the wrong gap it’s going to be a 50-yard run, so I’m not sure I’m ready to put him in there. We’ll see.”

Obviously, the choice was not to dress Nkemdiche.

The remaining inactives are tight end Darren Fells, defensive tackle Josh Mauro, quarterback Carson Palmer, defensive tackle Olsen Pierre, defensive tackle Ed Stinson and guard Cole Toner.

Fells (shoulder), Palmer (concussion) and Stinson (toe) had already been ruled out, and they did not make the trip.

Drew Stanton starts at quarterback.

Mauro, meanwhile, had been listed as questionable with a chest injury.

For the Niners, defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (foot), defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey (knee), tight end Vance McDonald (hip) and cornerback Jimmie Ward (quadriceps) are out due to injury.

The others not in uniform for San Francisco are quarterback Christian Ponder, receiver Keshawn Martin and offensive lineman John Theus.

At 1-3, going on the road and dealing with a number of injuries, Arians was asked if this was as difficult a situation as he’s had to deal with in his three-plus seasons in Arizona.

“No, no,” he answered. “We’ve lost Carson, we’ve lost Drew, we’ve lost (Darnell) Dockett. We’ve lost a lot of guys. ‘Next Man Up’ has always been our mantra. It’s never failed us, so this is some guys’ opportunity this week to get out there and play.”

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