ARIZONA CARDINALS

Thumb surgery ‘up next’ for Cardinals safety Budda Baker

Sep 27, 2020, 6:45 PM | Updated: 7:12 pm

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The injury bug has struck the Arizona Cardinals secondary once again as safety Budda Baker has suffered a thumb injury.

Baker has a UCL tear in his thumb that is expected to require surgery, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. Baker tweeted after the game confirming that the surgery is coming after the Cardinals’ Week 3 loss to the Detroit Lions.

“He’ll have a procedure here very soon,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said after the game.

In August, Baker signed a four-year, $59 million contract extension to become the highest-paid safety in the NFL.

Baker is the third projected starter to suffer an injury in the Cardinals defensive backfield, joining Robert Alford and Jalen Thompson.

In place of Alford and Thompson, Dre Kirkpatrick and Chris Banjo have filled in admirably. Banjo has appeared in more defensive snaps this season than Chandler Jones and Kirkpatrick ranked fifth on the team in solo tackles heading into their Week 3 matchup against the Detroit Lions.

Second-year pro Deionte Thompson is listed as Baker’s backup on the Cardinals’ depth chart, and he filled in for Banjo after Banjo left Sunday’s loss with a hamstring injury.

Another option at free safety for Arizona could be rookie Isaiah Simmons.

Although he is listed as an inside linebacker, Simmons spent time at free safety while in college at Clemson. He was highly touted for his versatility coming out of the draft and made one of his most famous plays in college from the free safety position, intercepting a pass against Ohio State in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl played at State Farm Stadium.

UCL tears have become a common injury in football over the last two seasons. Philadelphia Eagles receiver Jalen Reagor is expected to go on injured reserve because of a UCL tear.

Last season, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees missed five games because of the same injury.

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