Injury list has grown, but Cardinals have ‘dodged a bullet’

Aug 4, 2016, 12:53 PM | Updated: 4:26 pm
Receivers J.J. Nelson and John Brown walk the field during training camp on Aug. 2. (Photo by Adam ...
Receivers J.J. Nelson and John Brown walk the field during training camp on Aug. 2. (Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports)
(Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals have gone through five practices — three of which have seen them in pads — and not surprisingly, their injury list has grown.

The good news, however, is none of the ailments appear to be serious.

The Cardinals entered camp with Tyrann Mathieu, Frostee Rucker, Justin Bethel and Zack Wagenmann on the PUP list, and since that time have also seen John Brown, J. J. Nelson, Jermaine Gresham, Red Bryant, Evan Mathis, Alani Fua and Corey Peters, among others, miss some time.

Some of those players have already returned; many have not.

Following Thursday’s morning walk-through and before the afternoon practice, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians provided some updates on the walking wounded.

“Good news on Alani Fua: he will not need surgery,” Arians said of the second-year pro who suffered a knee injury earlier in the week. “Corey Peters is just plantar fasciitis, so we kind of dodged a bullet on those two.

“Everybody else is still the same.”

Arians said Brown is still going through the concussion protocol, adding they will take their time with the third-year pro and not rush him back.

“We’re going to take our time and make sure he’s completely healed,” the coach said.

In the cases of Peters and Brown, with their respective ailments, the timetable for a return is a little unclear. Peters said he’s heard recovery can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple weeks, noting it’s really about pain level. And Brown, of course, will get back on the field when his symptoms subside and he gets cleared by the team’s doctors.

As for the rest of the injured, Arians has some ideas on when they’ll be back.

He said Mathieu is “looking at probably two weeks” with the same going for Rucker, as well.

“I think (Robert) Nkemdiche is probably less than that,” Arians added. “(Elie) Bouka about the same — probably less than two.”

The coach joked that the funny thing with trainers is that the injuries were projected to be three weeks and now, with one week in the books, he’s ready to shorten the timeline even if the trainers are not.

One player whose timeline may be hastened is Bethel’s, as the CB is on the sidelines while rookie Brandon Williams is trying to earn a starting job that at one time seemed reserved for him.

“He’s taking hellacious advantage of it,” Arians said. “I imagine Justin is probably getting healthier; he’s seeing it too.”


As Arians said, the injury Peters suffered Tuesday ended up not being all that bad.

But for a player who missed all of last season with an Achilles injury, the simple fact of getting hurt at all was at first a frightening proposition.

“Freaked out for a second, that being the same leg as the Achilles, but really has nothing to do with that and it’s just something minor, and we’ll work through it,” Peters said. “Hopefully, get back pretty soon.”

Peters admitted his initial thought upon getting hurt took him back to last year’s injury, but being able to walk off the field and into the locker room was a sign that whatever he did was probably not all that devastating.

Like Arians, Peters feels like a bullet was dodged.

“For sure,” he said. “Just sitting out last year on such a good team, you just really want to be a part of it and do your part to help the team, and that’s no different now.

“I’m just excited that it’s not too serious and we’ll be able to get back soon.”

The 28-year-old said he was physically back to 100 percent and was working the rust off in practice. Peters said it’s disappointing that he’ll miss some time because he enjoys the reps. He is hopeful about making it back in time to get enough work in before Week 1.

The key, however, is not rushing his return.

“It’s just smart to make sure everything is 100 percent and healthy before we go back out there,” he said. “It’s a lot of pressure — sometimes you’ve got to get in there and take on double teams and that sort of thing, so you definitely want to be ready before you step back into that.”

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