CARDINALS CORNER

Cardinals’ Jon Gaines II questionable to return vs. Vikings with knee injury

Aug 26, 2023, 10:53 AM | Updated: 5:36 pm

Jon Gaines II...

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals were already thin at the center position entering their preseason finale against the Minnesota Vikings.

One offensive play into Saturday’s 18-17 win, it got that a whole lot thinner, with 2023 fourth-rounder Jon Gaines II questionable to return with a knee injury.

Offensive lineman Dennis Daley was also looked at by trainers early on in the second quarter and needed help off the field.

With Gaines, who got the starting nod Saturday and has consistently worked with the second team this offseason, dealing with the knee issue, Hayden Howerton stepped in for the rookie.

Beyond Howerton, though, things get even murkier.

Starter Hjalte Froholdt was likely not going to see much time — if any — this weekend given his spot on the depth chart and the fact he and his family welcomed a baby daughter to the world on Monday. Pat Elflein, another veteran option, has dealt with injury.

Behind Howerton is Lecitus Smith, who was a center option last season and has worked in the role this offseason. Smith already entered the game as a guard before moving to center in the second quarter.

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