GLENDALE, Ariz. – For the first time in a month, the Arizona Cardinals will have their full stable of running backs at the ready.
Andre Ellington returns to active duty, joining David Johnson, Kerwynn Williams and Stepfan Taylor in the backfield in Week 16 against the Green Bay Packers.
Ellington had missed the past three weeks with turf toe.
“He’s fine,” head coach Bruce Arians said Friday. “He practiced full-speed two days in a row now.”
The Cardinals were also expected to welcome back starting safety Rashad Johnson, but after going through pregame warm-ups it was determined he would be sidelined for a second straight game due to an ankle issue that first flared up last against Minnesota.
Johnson’s absence is huge considering the Cardinals will also be minus Tyrann Mathieu.
Remember, this will be the first game the Cardinals have played since Mathieu tore the ACL in his right knee. He was subsequently placed on season-ending injured reserve.
The other Cardinal not available because of injury is linebacker Josh Mauro. He hurt his calf at Philadelphia and did not practice all week.
The remaining Cardinals’ inactives—each a healthy scratch—are quarterback Matt Barkley, cornerback Corey White, linebacker Shaq Riddick, offensive tackle D.J. Humphries and nose tackle Xavier Williams.
“With this time of year and only having [two] guys that’s actually hurt to miss a ballgame is amazing, really,” Arians said.
For the Packers, left tackle David Bakhtiari (ankle), tight end Justin Perillo (hamstring), linebacker Jayrone Elliot (quadriceps), cornerback Sam Shields (concussion) are out due to injury.
The others not in uniform are quarterback Brett Hundley, linebacker Andy Mulumba and tight end Kennard Backman.
A large contingent of Packers fans are expected to descend upon University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday afternoon, meaning there could be a real battle for home-field advantage between the two fan bases.
“It’s going to be huge. Just don’t try to out-cheer them when we got the ball. Cheer them when they got the ball,” Arians said, speaking to ‘The Red Sea’. “Our fans are great; and they’ve drowned out everybody that’s shown up this year. I know they’ll be a bunch of (Packers fans) and we’re ready for it.”
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