It has been two and a half weeks since Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell had his MCL injured by a Julius Thomas illegal chop block during a Week 5 matchup with the Denver Broncos.
Thursday, he returned to practice for the first time since the blow, though he was limited in activity.
Later Thursday, while hosting the Big Red Rage on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, Campbell expounded on his recovery and what it meant for this weekend’s matchup in Glendale.
“I actually got to practice today, so that was huge,” he said. “And I felt good.”
The Cardinals training staff had held Campbell from practice and made him wear a brace to protect the injured ligament. On Thursday, he took that off for the first time since the injury.
“That was a big deal for me,” he said. “(We were) just trying to make sure the muscles around it do their job. You know, the knee brace kind of hinders a little bit, but I was finally able to get the doctor’s clearance, so that was huge.”
Though he missed the last two games against the Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins, as well as the remainder of the aforementioned contest with the Broncos, Campbell ranks sixth on the team in tackles and has one of the team’s seven sacks. He also picked off Peyton Manning before suffering the MCL injury against the Broncos.
Beginning with the 2009 season, Campbell has ranked either first or second in sacks for the Cardinals year after year. If the defensive end isn’t cleared to play when the 5-1 Philadelphia Eagles visit this weekend, his absence will be felt.
But the 6-foot-8, 300-pounder is optimistic about his chances of suiting up.
“I was limited (Thursday),” Campbell said. “But it was promising. I felt pretty good. If things go the tomorrow and I still feel good, maybe I’ll have a chance to play.”