TEMPE, Ariz. – Full go, but not quite full strength.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, coming off his first game in nearly five weeks, participated in a full practice on Wednesday, the first time he had done so since hurting his right shoulder in the season opener against the San Diego Chargers.
“Feeling really good. I’m excited that I actually get to practice,” he said prior to heading out onto the field. “I’m going to do everything I can. I’m excited. I’m probably as excited of a guy there is in the league for a Wednesday practice.”
Palmer made a surprise return last Sunday, helping the Cardinals beat Washington 30-20 to improve to 4-1. His first four snaps were pass attempts, and he finished 28-of-44 for 250 yards and two touchdowns after missing three games.
“I’m not back to where I was against San Diego as far as reading things as quickly as I need to be last week and the ball coming out the way it needs to come out. That’s not far off,” he said. “That’s something that comes back quick. Endurance and strength comes back quick.”
But how quick?
Sure, the shoulder is getting better every day, but at what point will Palmer feel like he’s 100 percent?
“There’s not an exact date where I’m going to say ‘OK, ‘X’ is when everything is great and hunky dory and a hundred percent,'” he said. “I’ve just got to continue my rehab and got to just throw. That’s the only way—I’ve said before you don’t get your arm stronger by lifting in the weight room. You get the arm stronger by throwing and throwing and throwing, and that’s what I need to do.”
Head coach Bruce Arians agreed, dismissing a reporter’s question about perhaps resting his starting quarterback during the week in order to be fresh on game day.
“(Palmer) just needs to strengthen it and the only really way to do that is continue to work,” Arians said.
As he’s done since he hurt the shoulder, Palmer is spending a considerable amount of time, even on days when there is no practice, at the team’s training facility receiving treatment.
He flew to Denver twice to see a nerve specialist, including immediately after practice on Friday, just two days before playing Washington.
Palmer is unsure if he’ll make another trip back to the Mile High City.
“I’ve said before, it’s not like a hamstring pull where it’s a certain week that you’ll be healed,” he said. “I’m going to be in the woods until I’m out of the woods, and I don’t know what day that is, what week that is, what month it is. I’ve just got to stick with my protocol and continue to progress every day.”