ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals’ Zach Allen on ankle: ‘Tape was the only thing’ holding it together

Jun 17, 2022, 12:15 PM
Zach Allen #94 of the Arizona Cardinals chases after the ballcarrier against the Chicago Bears at S...
Zach Allen #94 of the Arizona Cardinals chases after the ballcarrier against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 05, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

TEMPE — Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Zach Allen took a noticeable leap in his NFL progression last season.

Getting even more reps in the defense and picking up valuable knowledge from J.J. Watt, Allen went from the player waiting in the wings to an every-game starter.

Unfortunately for Allen, an ankle injury hindered the lineman late in the season. But shredded ligaments and bone chips didn’t stop him from pushing through the pain and setting career marks in sacks (four), tackles (48), QB hits (14) and passes defensed (four).

“It was tough. I think … Indianapolis, right after that game (on Christmas), we finally did the MRI and we saw kind of what it actually was,” Allen said Wednesday. “We knew surgery was an option but we were able to kind of play through it and luckily there’s a lot of tape and a lot of Toradol (an anti-inflammatory drug) out there so we were able to make it work and kind of keep it together.

“I literally had no ligaments in my ankle. My tibia was basically floating so the tape was the only thing kind of holding it together.”

Once the season came to a close, Allen wasted no time getting surgery on the ankle. He didn’t specify the injury but said it was enough that hardware had to be put in.

Since then, it’s been nothing but rehab and constant work for the lineman, who went as far as to say he’s feeling better at this point in the offseason compared to going into last year. The only days off were over Easter, and even then he was still grinding on his own.

He credits the work of the rehab and strength teams as well as having Watt and other guys to lean on throughout the downtime.

Still, not being able to hit the practice field with his teammates over OTAs and minicamp had it’s mental hurdles.

“Once they started practicing, mentally it got tough because you want to get out there and stuff,” Allen said. “But the nice thing is there’s been no setbacks, no anything like that to deal with. It’s just kind of always been a nice progression. We’ve been ahead of schedule the whole time, which has been nice. It’s been really good.”

Allen’s next target in his rehab is to be full-go by training camp. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury expects it, as does the lineman.

And that’s not the only thing Allen is eyeing as he looks to continue to build up his NFL resume.

“I think I definitely have more in the tank, I’m excited to do a full season — knock on wood — healthy, not trying to battle through too many things,” Allen said. “I think also now going into Year 4, probably take on more of a leadership role.

“It’s funny — it seems like yesterday you were the young guy asking all the questions. Now, you got young guys asking you questions. … Honestly, this offseason has been great. I know we’ve lost some good players but we also gained some really good players, and I just think we’re doing really well.”

Arizona Cardinals CB Byron Murphy attempts a pass during minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray warms up ahead of minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray warms up ahead of minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins warms up ahead of minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray jokes around ahead of minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray jokes around ahead of minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray warms up ahead of minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals S Tae Daley catches a pass during minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Greg Dortch catches a pass during minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Antoine Wesley looks on during minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals S Budda Baker catches a pass during minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Rondale Moore runs through drills during minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals CB Christian Matthew catches a pass during minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Rondale Moore runs through drills during minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt runs through drills during minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Christian Blake runs through drills during minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Marquise Brown looks on during minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Marquise Brown looks on during minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt runs through drills during minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt runs through drills during minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt runs through drills during minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray warms up ahead of minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins warms up ahead of minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray warms up ahead of minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals QB Colt McCoy jokes around ahead of minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins warms up ahead of minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins warms up ahead of minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins warms up ahead of minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals DL Leki Fotu runs through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals DL Rashard Lawrence runs through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals DL Michael Dogbe runs through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt runs through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals CB Marco Wilson runs through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals CB Marco Wilson runs through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals CB Antonio Hamilton runs through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals CB Marco Wilson runs through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals CB Breon Borders runs through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals CBs Breon Borders (21) and Byron Murphy (7) run through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals CBs Antonio Hamilton (33) and Jace Whittaker (39) run through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals CB Byron Murphy runs through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals CB Antonio Hamilton looks on during minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals CB Christian Matthew runs through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals CB Byron Murphy runs through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

Arizona Cardinals

NFL athlete Larry Fitzgerald tees off on the first hole during round one of the American Century Ch...
Arizona Sports

Larry Fitzgerald recalls hole-in-one while playing golf with President Obama

Arizona Cardinals icon Larry Fitzgerald recalled hitting a hole-in-one while playing golf with President Barack Obama a few years ago.
2 days ago
Monti Ossenfort, new general manager of the Arizona Cardinals NFL football team, speaks during a ne...
Tyler Drake

2023 NFL Mock Draft Tracker: What will the Cardinals do with 3rd pick?

A look at the players being mocked to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 3 overall in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
1 day ago
(Barrett Jackson photo)...
Wills Rice

Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins sells custom 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible at Barrett-Jackson

Cardinals wideout DeAndre Hopkins made a pretty penny on Friday, selling a custom 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible at Barrett-Jackson.
1 day ago
(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)...
Wills Rice

Cardinals outside linebacker coach Charlie Bullen hired at Illinois to same position

Former Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker coach Charlie Bullen was hired at Illinois on Saturday, the university announced.
1 day ago
Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals hugs Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs after th...
Jake Anderson

Cincinnati mayor calls for paternity test to see if Joe Burrow is Patrick Mahomes’ father

Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval on Friday made a proclamation for Joe Burrow to take a paternity test to see if he is Patrick Mahomes' father.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray (@K1/Instagram Photo)...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray shares photo of surgically-repaired knee

Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray on Friday gave fans a closer look into his recovery from a season-ending knee injury.
2 days ago
Cardinals’ Zach Allen on ankle: ‘Tape was the only thing’ holding it together