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Cardinals’ Markus Golden on his ACL rehab: ‘I’ll be out there soon’

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer looks to throw as Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Markus Golden (44) and outside linebacker Chandler Jones (55) pursue during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Markus Golden is anxious to get back on the field with his teammates. He’s anxious to put a disappointing 2017 season behind. He’s anxious to see what new coach Steve Wilks and new defensive coordinator Al Holcomb have in store for the defense, which will switch to a 4-3 alignment and likely leave Golden with his hand in the dirt more at defensive end instead of outside linebacker.

First things first, however.

Golden is still recovering from ACL surgery after tearing that right knee ligament in a Week 4 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium. Progress comes in baby steps.

“I’ve just been making sure I stay on it, squatting and doing all the regular stuff besides getting out there on the football field,” he said Tuesday. “The most excited I was [came when I was] running outside a little bit.”

Golden began running on April 3. He is doing work off to the side with assistant athletic trainer Chad Cook while the majority of the Cardinals open offseason training activities at the team’s Tempe headquarters. He admits there is still the expected pain in the knee as he breaks up scar tissue and attempts to get the quadriceps and calf muscles in his right leg looking like those muscles in the other leg.

“It’s getting real close,” he said.

Although he is about seven months out from surgery, Golden said he won’t take part in any team activities during OTAs, and there is no plan yet for the start of training camp, where PUP (physically unable to perform) is an option if the Cardinals play it safe.

“I can’t even speak on that. I’m letting Chad run it so whenever he tells me,” Golden said. “I’m just going to keep grinding. I’m making it happen. I’ll be out there soon.”

Coming off a 12.5-sack season in 2016, Golden finished his injury-shortened 2017 without a sack and with 11 tackles. He felt like he was close to getting on track when the injury occurred.

“I play this game because I love it,” he said. “It’s my job but I just love what I do. Of course, you want to keep building your legacy out there on the field so when you aren’t able to play you can’t be building your resume, proving to everybody what you can do and most of all, proving to myself.

“I’ll be alright. Stuff happens for a reason. You can’t complain too long. You’ve got to stay motivated and keep on.”

While he was out, Golden stayed around the team, coaching up his teammates when he could, talking pass rushing with teammate Chandler Jones and supporting in any way he could. He also got the chance to spend more time with his family, but he insists his son, isn’t worried about losing dad again to the grind of the NFL season.

“He likes me to be out there on the football field,” Golden said, laughing. “He likes to go to the games.”

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