Arizona Cardinals QB Drew Stanton on recovery from knee injury: ‘It just takes time’

Dec 17, 2014, 11:03 PM | Updated: 11:03 pm
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TEMPE, Ariz. — When Drew Stanton first went down with an apparent knee injury during Arizona’s 12-6 win over the St. Louis Rams last week, initial fears were he could be out for the rest of the season.

The following day, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said the QB did not need surgery and was considered to be “week-to-week.” Over the weekend, a report surfaced that said the QB would miss up to four weeks, and then on Monday Arizona GM Steve Keim said it would be “extremely difficult” to give a timetable for the QB’s return to the field.

Wednesday, as Ryan Lindley was speaking to reporters about his upcoming start against the Seattle Seahawks, Stanton offered up his own prognosis.

“I don’t know,” he said when asked how long he thinks he’ll be out. “It’s a unique injury in the sense that you don’t really know the trauma that occurred. You can see it on the MRI, but it just takes time and you don’t really know when that’s going to be.

“I’ve never had an injury like this before, so dealing with it, trying to just trust the rehab that they have in place for me every day — as long as there’s no setbacks — continue to progress with it and go from there.”

The officially unofficial diagnosis is that Stanton sprained his right knee, which is the type of injury that will heal on its own if given time. Of course, the concern is that with this being Week 16 and the playoffs right around the corner, Stanton may not be ready to go when elimination is on the line.

Naturally, he would like to back on the field by then — if not even sooner — but his main goal right now is just to keep improving and getting healthier.

“As a competitor and as a guy that wants to help this team win, I want to get back as soon as possible,” he said. “Now what that means, I don’t know. I would like to be out there as soon as I can and I’m going to do everything within my power to do that, so you also have to be smart on that because we have clinched a playoff spot.”

Stanton added that it will ultimately be up to the coaches to decide when he’s ready to play, with his job just being to get ready for when that moment comes.

Asked about the best-case scenario for Stanton’s return Wednesday, Arians quipped, “Sunday.”

“Like I said, the brain does funny things.”

The issue, though, is with Stanton’s knee, not his brain.

The 30-year-old said he just started jogging with a knee brace on in an effort to get acclimated to wearing it. Stanton said when he tore his ACL back in 2003 it was suggested that he wear a brace, but the option was given to him and he declined. That will not be the case this time.

“They’ve got a protocol of what they want to follow here, and I’m on board with whatever’s going to do it to get me on the field as fast as possible.”

That it has even come to this is disappointing for Stanton, who had not thrown a regular-season pass since 2010 entering this season but played well in relief of an injured Carson Palmer in Weeks 2-4 and then took over as the full-time starter when the veteran QB went down with a torn ACL in Week 10.

Stanton has completed 55 percent of his passes for 1,711 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions. He had scuffled a bit recently, but was having one of his more efficient games against the Rams before suffering the knee injury.

“The more snaps you get, the more comfortable you get and the slower the game becomes,” he said. “And especially with defenses that we’ve seen, we’ve been seeing a lot of good defenses and they’re very multiple. So being able to get up there, identify the front, kind of have an idea of what coverage you might see and go from there is one of those things that just happens through time.

“So getting that opportunity and feeling comfortable with what we were doing offensively, it was disheartening to have to deal with that, but at the same time it’s next man up. That’s what everybody says and Ryan was able to go in there and win a football game for us. It took a team effort but that what it’s going to take from here on out.”

This week it will be Lindley again at quarterback, while Arians has hinted that he may possibly sprinkle in some plays for Logan Thomas, too.

Stanton believes the team will be fine while he’s sidelined, adding he is excited to see Lindley get a chance to prove himself. Earlier this season, it was Stanton in that role, waiting, hoping for a chance to prove himself. It finally arrived, and he acquitted himself well.

“That’s the business of the NFL, you never know how it’s going to happen and that’s what I’ve tried to preach with the guys that have been around that are younger than me is you don’t know when your opportunity is going to come, but you damn sure better be able to be prepared when they do come and you better make the most of them,” Stanton said. “Because guys like me and him, we don’t know how many opportunities we’re going to get and we don’t know when they’re going to come.

“So we have to be prepared and don’t want to ever look back and say, ‘Gosh, I wish I would have been a little bit more ready to go that day or that week or anything.’ That won’t be the case with Ryan, I know that 100 percent.”

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