TEMPE, Ariz. — It was understandable to fear the worst at the time.
When Arizona Cardinals guard Mike Iupati crumpled to the ground after colliding with Seattle’s Kam Chancellor — with the lineman’s head seeming to take the bulk of the force — you felt nervous.
Then, as he remained on the field for a long time before he was ultimately placed onto a board and then loaded into an ambulance and taken to a hospital, you felt sick.
Not long after play had resumed, however, Cardinals VP/Media Relations began tweeting out updates, all of which were good news.
First, Iupati had feeling and movement in his extremities when he left the field.
Then, it was learned his CT scan and MRI both came back normal.
From there, Iupati was released from the hospital and flew back with the team Sunday night.
Finally, on Monday, there was this:
Speaking to the media Monday afternoon, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Iupati “is fine.”
“He actually will be day-to-day,” the coach added. “We’ll put him through the protocol for precautionary measures and he’s a little stiff, but it was a very scary moment and we’re very happy to see him in the locker room smiling.”
The protocol Arians is referring to is the one for players who have suffered a concussion, though much like everything else that transpired immediately following the injury, it seems to be more about trying to be safe than sorry.
If Iupati has to miss the game, it’s possible Earl Watford, who started the first two games of the season at right tackle and filled in at left guard in Seattle, would get the start.
Asked to rate Watford’s performance Sunday, Arians said he was OK.
“He’s been practicing so much tackle that his sets were off a little bit,” he said. “He needs to get his hands on them a little bit quicker. We’ll get him a bunch of reps at guard this week.”
That makes sense because while it’s possible Iupati will be able to return to the field Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Cardinals will need to be prepared in case he sits. Iupati missed the first three games of this season due to a knee injury, though that experience will have little impact on how he and the team approach his recovery from this one.
Arians said the team will be extra cautious with the player it signed to a five-year, $40 million contract in March.
“Oh yeah. It’s up to the player,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s harder for the player to get over. He’s healthy, but it’s hard to get over it. When he’s ready, he’ll tell us.”
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