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Mike Iupati moves on from scary injury, returns to practice

A backboard is brought in to take injured Arizona Cardinals guard Mike Iupati off the field, during the first half of the Cardinals' NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals guard Mike Iupati is usually fairly reserved, not one who is anxious to talk to the media.

But he held court Thursday, speaking for the first time since leaving Sunday’s 39-32 win over the Seattle Seahawks with what appeared to be a devastating neck injury.

“It was scary,” he said of the moment the injury occurred. “When your neck hurts and both of your arms go numb, it’s a scary feeling.”

Iupati said he was waiting for feeling to return, which it did before he left the field in an ambulance. He joked that, at the time, it was frustrating because the doctors told him not to move his neck but he couldn’t tell if he was OK without moving his neck.

“How do you know if it’s OK or not, you can’t move it,” he said with a chuckle.

That Iupati can joke about the situation is a great sign. He said he has suffered stingers in the past, though this was the first time it affected both sides of his body.

The 28-year-old praised the team’s trainers for getting word of his condition to his wife, who was understandably scared by the scene.

But as concerned as everyone was Sunday, there is plenty of optimism over his prospects going forward.

Earlier this week, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Iupati was day-to-day, and Thursday, after returning to the practice field in a limited capacity, the three-time Pro Bowler said he was just a little sore, which is normal in football.

“He looked fine, he looked fine,” Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said Thursday of Iupati. “Got some work in today, but we’ll see what happens going in tomorrow and to Saturday to see whether he makes it or not on Sunday.

“Excited to have him back out there, he’s alright. He’s still goofy Mike, so I’m good.”

Though nothing is set in stone, Iupati is confident he will be ready to go against the Bengals.

“I should be OK, you know, just practice and make sure everything is good,” he said “You’ve got to be smart.”

Part of that is not being afraid to get back out there. Iupati said he gets paid to play, so that’s what he’ll do. Upon returning, he will just try to eliminate the mistake that led to his injury in the first place.

“My angle was wrong and it’s just one of those things,” he said. “Anything can happen, you’ve just got to be smart with it. It’s football.”

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