Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins, OL Justin Murray on track for 2022 return

Jan 18, 2022, 4:00 PM | Updated: 4:13 pm
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) celebrates after scoring a 9-yard touchdown du...

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) celebrates after scoring a 9-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

The Arizona Cardinals didn’t take long to turn the page on their season on Tuesday.

On the losing end of things in a 34-11 ballgame, head coach Kliff Kingsbury and the Cardinals head into the offseason with a number of looming questions to be answered, from personnel changes to a closer look into the coaching staff and everything else in between.

But with how things are trending for injured Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and offensive lineman Justin Murray, the duo may not have that dark cloud looming overhead much longer.

He may not have divulged Hopkins’ specific injury that required surgery — reportedly a badly torn MCL — but the head coach did give somewhat of a timeline for a return.

“I think Hop should be fine over the next month or so,” Kingsbury said Tuesday.

While the wide receiver’s potential full bill of health will come a whole lot later than Cardinals fans would have liked to see, it’s a positive sign nonetheless for the Pro Bowl wideout.

When healthy, Hopkins was the team’s unquestioned No. 1 option for yet another season.

Despite playing 10 games in 2021, Hopkins reeled in a team-high eight touchdowns to go along with 42 catches (64 targets) and 572 yards. The wideout’s injury was one of a handful of critical ailments that hindered the team down the stretch.

Hopkins isn’t the only one trending upward, either, with offensive lineman Justin Murray also on track for when the team reconvenes next season.

Murray played just three games before going down with a back injury. He went on the injured reserve on Oct. 8 before being designated to return nearly a month later.

But the 21-day practice window came and went, and with Murray still dealing with back issues, he was never activated off the IR, effectively ending his season.

It was a tough blow to the team’s offensive line depth, especially at right guard, a vulnerability this season for the Cardinals.

“He had a procedure done and I spoke to him today,” Kingsbury said of the lineman. “He thinks he’s released fully February 28. And so I think he’ll have plenty of time to prepare for training camp.”

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