The Cardinals are hopeful that quarterback Kevin Kolb will return this week against the Dallas Cowboys after missing four games because of an injured right foot.
Kolb has missed more time than expected. He practiced on a part-time basis last week, and there was some consideration about using him as John Skelton's backup.
Instead, the team decided against it because Kolb didn't think he could get the foot warm enough after standing on the sideline for a long time. Playing on an artificial surface also factored into the decision.
"I think that we're certainly a lot more optimistic about him being able to go this week," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "It's really going to depend on where he is Wednesday and as the week progresses, but he made enough progress last week that you feel good about him being able to do it this week."
Kolb needs to return for a handful of reasons. Skelton has not played well the past two weeks, even though the Cardinals are 3-1 with him as a starter this season.
Skelton has been intercepted four times in the past two weeks, and he didn't throw a touchdown pass in that time.
While Skelton has shown signs of promise, he's also struggled with accuracy, which coaches attribute to breakdowns in mechanics.
But the main reason Kolb needs to play is to become more familiar with this offense. He was playing poorly when he was hurt, and the Cardinals need him to make progress this year.
The team has invested a considerable amount in Kolb, and this season would be a startling disappointment if he weren't able to return and play over the final month.