GLENDALE, Ariz. — Well, this is different.
For much of the season, the Arizona Cardinals have gotten in the habit — a bad habit — of playing without a key player defensively due to injury.
This week, the script has been flipped.
After missing each of the past two weeks because of a sprained MCL in his right knee, defensive end Calais Campbell will make his return Sunday afternoon when the Cardinals host the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.
“When he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go because there’s nobody quite like him. Even if he’s 90 percent,” head coach Bruce Arians said this week. “The energy he brings and just the respect that he brings (means) you want him on the field.”
Campbell has not seen the field on game day since getting chop-blocked by Broncos tight end Julius Thomas on Oct. 5 in Denver.
Campbell practiced Thursday and Friday, albeit limited, and the 6-foot-8, 300-pound lineman will be wearing a brace on the knee.
“It’s different,” he said. “I’ve never played with a brace on my knee before, so I’ve just got to get used to it. But I felt explosive (in practice) and I was able to play football the way I like to play football.”
Meanwhile, running back Marion Grice, a former Arizona State Sun Devil, will be in uniform, active for the first time since he was signed off the San Diego Chargers’ practice squad on Sept. 23.
The Cardinals’ seven inactives Sunday are defensive tackle Bruce Gaston, tight end Troy Niklas, nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu, quarterback Logan Thomas, guard Earl Watford and linebackers Glenn Carson and Thomas Keiser.
Niklas was ruled out Friday after not practicing all week because of a bad ankle, an injury he suffered at Denver. The other six players are healthy scratches.
Both Arians and Campbell said there will be no snap count limitation despite the defensive end’s layoff.
“The big thing is just giving everything I have and being honest with the training staff and my coaches and myself — and just making sure that I’m doing what’s best to help the team. That’s it,” Campbell said. “This is a game I want to be a part of. It’s a huge game. The Eagles are a great team. This is a game that’s really going to matter at the end of the year.”