Cardinals S Budda Baker goes from ‘zero percent’ to possibly playing

Nov 11, 2022, 12:15 PM | Updated: 12:21 pm
Budda Baker appeared at practice Friday despite having been ruled out with a high ankle sprain by h...
Budda Baker appeared at practice Friday despite having been ruled out with a high ankle sprain by head coach Kliff Kingsbury (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports).
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

Diagnosed with the dreaded high ankle sprain earlier this week, Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker appeared lost for the foreseeable future. At least a few weeks.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph both spoke definitively about Baker’s status in the middle of this week. Arizona (3-6) would have to first replace him for a Sunday road game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Until Friday, when Baker showed up dressed to work out, then warmed up with his teammates on the practice field.

“I heard zero percent chance (of Baker playing this week),” Kingsbury said after practice. “Obviously, he’s been fighting us to get back out there, and we’ll see how he progresses the next couple days. But he’s a special human and wanted to be out there today.”

Baker has 71 tackles, two passes defensed and a forced fumble this season.

Arizona’s seemingly certain loss of its captain came at a crossroads with the Cardinals needing wins against NFC West opponents in the next two weeks to climb out of the bottom of the division.

Usually one to remain vague about the statuses of players who are not completely shut down, Kingsbury said this of his star safety earlier in the week:

“You watch the film this year, I think he’s playing as good as anybody at any position in the league. Week in and week out the effort, the hustle plays, his attention to detail, the stuff he’s doing to get us lined up on the backend, it’s just been elite.

“It’s a tough loss and tough for him, but he means a lot to this place. He’ll still be around the next couple weeks helping us out, but you can’t replace a guy like that on the field.”

The Cardinals, due to some unusual healing powers on Baker’s end, might not have to.

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