TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians did not need to divulge any injury information Tuesday.
“So, a bunch of guys practiced and a bunch didn’t,” he told the assembled media. “But, I feel pretty good about getting most of them healthy before Friday.”
Among the players Arians and the Cardinals are hoping to get back this week are defensive lineman Frostee Rucker, cornerback Jerraud Powers, tight end Jermaine Gresham and running back Andre Ellington, all of whom have missed games over the last few weeks due to various ailments.
Though he was not going to divulge much information, Arians said they’ll wait and see on Rucker but added he feels good about Powers’ prospects.
Both of them were spotted during the open portion of practice Tuesday, though the same cannot be said for Gresham, who is dealing with a knee injury, and Ellington, who is suffering from turf toe.
With Ellington, specifically, the third-year pro who has been sidelined since the Cardinals’ Week 12 win in San Francisco says his toe is feeling better.
“Week to week, day by day,” he said of where he’s at. “It ain’t 100 percent but it’s getting there.”
The problem for Ellington, he said, is that it’s difficult to push off his toe with the way it is feeling right now. The key going forward is to build strength back up in it and get over some soreness that he still feels. He spent a few days with a specialist in Los Angeles last week, which Ellington said helped out a lot.
Feeling noticeable improvement, Ellington — who has tallied 386 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns this season — said he will be back on the field whenever the team’s trainers clear him to play.
“I’m working every day trying to get back out there,” he said. “I want to be out there this weekend, but we’ll see. I’m still working, progressing, so we’ll see.”
Ellington suffered his injury in the same game the Cardinals lost Chris Johnson, which left David Johnson, Kerwynn Williams and Stepfan Taylor as the team’s main running backs. Arizona ran for 175 yards and 97 yards in wins over the St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings, respectively, so while the team would certainly welcome Ellington back into the fold, there is little reason to rush him until he’s truly ready to go.
So even though Ellington would like to be ready as early as this Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, he understands waiting, while difficult, may be the best course of action.
“I want to get out there this weekend; anytime we have a game, all players want to play,” he said. “But in reality, the grand scheme of things, we have more important ones coming up. Hopefully we get this win this weekend and then we look forward to Green Bay.
“But right now, what’s most important is this one.”
Wednesday’s injury report — and of course, Thursday’s and Friday’s, too — will give a better idea of whether not Ellington will be able to get on the field Sunday night. He understands being unable to practice this week would not help his chances, since Arians is the kind of coach who wants to see a player during the week if he is to play on the weekend.
What’s tough is that though part of the recovery involves tolerating some pain, being a toe issue means it’s not something he can easily rest or stay off of. However, being forced to walk around with the injury also gives him insight into how it’s healing — which it is.
“All before I couldn’t really put pressure on it, but now I’m starting to get into a rhythm walk that I normally do,” he said. “So hopefully now I can progress from that and go to running.”
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