ARIZONA CARDINALS

Deone Bucannon has ankle surgery, Cardinals hopeful for September return

May 16, 2017, 10:27 AM | Updated: 1:02 pm

Arizona Cardinals strong safety Deone Bucannon (20) celebrates a stop against the Minnesota Vikings...

Arizona Cardinals strong safety Deone Bucannon (20) celebrates a stop against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Deone Bucannon had ankle surgery for a “lingering” injury, according to Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians.

“It could be,” Arians said of the season opener being questionable. “We think, everything goes perfect, he’ll be ready. There’s always that chance it won’t.”

Last year, Bucannon played in 13 games (all starts) before landing on injured reserve with an ankle injury. AZCardinals.com’s Kyle Odegard reports the injury never fully healed in the offseason and the team believed he could rehabilitate the ankle without surgery.

In January, Bucannon said the issue that had been bothering him since roughly Week 4 would not need surgery.

“Hopefully September,” Arians said of a return date.

With Bucannon out, Arians said first-round pick Haason Reddick is the next man up.

“He’s starting,” Arians said.

“It’s not intimidating,” Reddick said. “I’ve got to step up now. I’ve got to be ready to go out there, make plays and be somebody that the team can count on.”

The 24-year-old Bucannon has 286 tackles in his Cardinals career after being selected with the 27th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He entered the league as a safety but has become a stalwart of the Arizona Cardinals defense as a hybrid linebacker in the past few seasons.

In the 13 games prior to his injury, Bucannon had 91 tackles.

“Definitely frustrating,” Bucannon said in January of the way his season finished. “I want to be out there, I want to play, so it’s something that was just kind of messing with me the whole year, my ankle. So it’s just unfortunate, but I’m going to come back stronger next year and figure out things I need to work on and just get better.”

In January, Arians was on the same page about Bucannon not needing surgery on the injury that placed him on IR.

“Yeah, that ankle – that’s why we didn’t know if he’d have to have surgery, because it was chronic,” he said in January. “But, now it looks like it’s healing itself better.”

Arizona picked up Bucannon’s fifth-year option in late April. In the offseason, the Cardinals brought back Karlos Dansby at linebacker and drafted Reddick 13th overall.

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