Arizona Cardinals designating OL Elijah Wilkinson to return from IR

Nov 29, 2023, 11:01 AM | Updated: 12:37 pm

TEMPE — The Arizona Cardinals are designating offensive lineman Elijah Wilkinson to return from injured reserve, head coach Jonathan Gannon said Wednesday.

Wilkinson, who started the first six games at left guard, now has a 21-day practice window before the team must activate him off IR or lose him for the rest of the year.

The guard was placed on IR on Oct. 28 ahead of Arizona’s Week 8 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens with a neck injury. He was also inactive in the Cardinals’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks the game prior, bringing his total missed games to six due to the ailment.

With Wilkinson sidelined the past six weeks, it’s been a carousel of linemen along the left side of the interior.

Getting the starting nod in place of Wilkinson in Weeks 7-8 was Trystan Colon. He, however, went down with his own injury issues (calf), making way for Dennis Daley in Week 9.

That experiment was short-lived, with Daley going from taking 100% of the offensive snaps in a loss to the Cleveland Browns to not seeing a snap in Week 10 and being a healthy inactive the past two games.

Daley’s downturn in reps then opened the door for Carter O’Donnell, who started the last three games at left guard, though saw his snap counts dipped this past week in favor of Colon.

At the very least, the eventual return of Wilkinson will give the Cardinals another starting option to consider at a position very much up for grabs.

Also expected back on the practice field on Wednesday is defensive lineman Kevin Strong. The veteran missed last week with a knee injury that sidelined him throughout Week 12 practice.

No change for injured Arizona Cardinals TE Zach Ertz

While Wilkinson took a step closer to returning Wednesday, the same can’t be said for veteran tight end Zach Ertz, who has missed the past five weeks with a quad injury.

Ertz has been on the IR since Oct. 24.

“Nothing’s changed with Zach,” Gannon said Wednesday.

Despite not having the veteran pass catcher and security blanket, Arizona is still getting a lot of production out of the tight ends room thanks to the emergence of second-year pro Trey McBride.

In the five games Ertz has been sidelined, McBride has caught 33 of 44 targets for 351 yards and a touchdown.

He also became the first Cardinals tight end since 1989 to reach the 100-yard mark in a game.

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