No setbacks, no timeline for Cardinals DE Markus Golden’s return

Jul 30, 2018, 12:24 PM | Updated: 10:07 pm
Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Markus Golden (44) celebrates a defensive stop with Robert Nke...
Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Markus Golden (44) celebrates a defensive stop with Robert Nkemdiche (90) against the Oakland Raiders during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Markus Golden said there have been no setbacks in his rehabilitation from ACL surgery, but there is still no timeline for the defensive end’s return to practice with four days of training camp already past.

The Cardinals placed Golden on the physically unable to perform list on July 23. The fourth-year pro said his absence at the start of camp has added another level of frustration.

“Super hard,” Golden said Monday when asked about sitting out. “I’ve been playing football my whole life and this is the most serious injury I’ve ever had; the longest I’ve ever been out of playing football. It’s hard, but you’ve got to be able to keep a strong mindset and keep working no matter what and just keep grinding.”

Golden tore the ACL in his right knee in a Week 4 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium. Wednesday will mark 10 months since he suffered the injury.

Golden began running on April 3 but missed all of OTAs and minicamp. He is doing work off to the side with assistant athletic trainer Chad Cook and 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 and feeling like those muscles in the left leg.

“I’m just going hard every day, doing exactly what [the trainers] want me to do and just grinding it out,” he said. “I’ve been running and doing everything I’m supposed to do but we’ve been taking it slow. The more and more we go, we’re just taking it slow. I just don’t want to hurt it.

“[There have been] no setbacks, just things that come with having a knee injury. You might be feeling 100 percent one day and then you are hurting a little bit the next day. They just want to take it slow and just keep staying up on it and keep pushing it every day, just try to get it ready for the season.”

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.”

Golden is 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. There is only so much he can do off the field, however.

“I’ve been doing a lot of mental reps, watching a lot of film, always taking notes,” he said. “I’m always going through my notes. I ain’t going to be set back in my mind. I’ll be able to know the plays. I do my flashcards so I’m doing everything in my power that I’ve got to off the field to be ready when I do get back on it.”

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No setbacks, no timeline for Cardinals DE Markus Golden’s return