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Cardinals WR Christian Kirk’s ankle diagnosis less serious than anticipated

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) is tackled by Seattle Seahawks cornerback Akeem King (36) and cornerback Ugo Amadi (28) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk will be limited Thursday in practice with an ankle injury and appears unlikely to play Sunday on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The team is hopeful Kirk will be able to play in Week 6 against the Atlanta Falcons.

“Much, much better than I anticipated,” Kingsbury said of the severity of the ankle injury. “He’s moving around better. So like I said, very pleased it wasn’t worse.”

Meanwhile, rookie defensive end Zach Allen, who was also injured Sunday, has a stinger in his shoulder. His status is also unknown heading into a Week 5 game.

Kirk, the second-year pro, suffered the gruesome-looking ankle injury on a first down catch with 54 seconds left in the Cardinals’ 27-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He was on the receiving end of a Kyler Murray pass that resulted in a six-yard gain and brought them to the Seahawks’ 9-yard line.

The game ended a play after Kirk’s injury as Murray took a sack and the Cardinals finished the final drive of the game with 54 yards on nine plays.

In Kirk’s place, it is likely the Cardinals will lean more on second-year pro Trent Sherfield, plus rookies KeeSean Johnson and Andy Isabella, who already earned more playing time in Week 4 after the release of veteran Michael Crabtree and a hamstring injury that sidelined starting receiver Damiere Byrd.

Byrd is also looking unlikely to play Sunday, Kingsbury said.

Arizona also on Tuesday re-signed receiver Pharoh Cooper, who spent the end of last season, all of training camp and the preseason with Arizona.

“It’ll be a group effort (replacing Kirk), there’s no doubt,” Kingsbury said. “We got to get some of those young guys going and Fitz will keep being Fitz, and then get Pharoh back in the mix, get those tight ends mixed in. Like i said, I’m just excited that (Kirk is) not gone for the year.”

As for Allen, the Cardinals had reduced his role in Week 4 before his injury. Jonathan Bullard, who was acquired at roster cuts before the season began, was active and healthy enough to play against Seattle after missing Weeks 2 and 3. He took 34 defensive snaps to Allen’s three.

Losing Kirk would take away Arizona’s second-leading receiver this year. Kirk, who has 242 receiving yards, also is tops on the team with 24 receptions and is tied with Larry Fitzgerald at 36 targets through four games.

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