Cardinals Injuries Take Center Stage
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Getty)
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Getty)

Posted Jan 6, 2010


The game plan for Sunday's playoff game for the Packers has been installed, already. The Cardinals' priority in practice this week is to get healthy. Four starters are dealing with significant injuries.

Receiver Anquan Boldin suffered a sprained left ankle in the season finale and underwent an MRI early this week. The results aren't available, but Boldin said after the game that he expects to play.

The Cardinals at least have some depth at that position. Steve Breaston has experience starting and Early Doucet and Jerheme Urban have played significant backup roles in important games before.

The other three injured players play positions where there is little depth, however.

Right defensive end Calais Campbell has a fractured thumb and likely will have to play with a cast. His backup, Alan Branch, has performed well but he's never had to start and play a significant amount.

Free safety Antrel Rolle missed last week's game with a thigh bruise. He likely will play this week but it's questionable if he will be 100 percent. With Matt Ware on injured reserve, the backup is rookie Rashad Johnson, who has developed slowly this season.

Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie suffered a bruised left kneecap last week, but the injury wasn't as bad as initially feared. Still, it's questionable if he will be at full speed. If he can't play, Michael Adams will start and the Packers picked on him last week.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--QB Kurt Warner should have benefited from playing only a quarter last week. Warner is nursing bumps and bruises and the time off should do him good.

--QB Matt Leinart didn't impress last week in two quarters of play, but he's not likely to play in the post-season anyway.

--RB Beanie Wells was limited last week by a sore groin and didn't play much. He should be healthy for Sunday's game.

--RB Tim Hightower has had fewer carries than Beanie Wells over the last five games, but still plays an important role in passing situations. If Hightower gets hot in the run game, the Cardinals will stick with him.

--RB Jason Wright plays a limited role when the team goes to its two-back sets in passing situations. He does catch some passes near the goal line and can play fullback in a pinch.

--WR Larry Fitzgerald is reasonably healthy and has been productive on the field. He has 13 touchdown catches, setting a career record. Fitzgerald has a badly bruised left elbow but doesn't seem hindered by it.

-- WR Anquan Boldin has a sprained left ankle and likely will miss practice time this week. Boldin has said he will play this week.

--WR Steve Breaston could surprise in the playoffs if the Cardinals go to more three- and four-receiver sets. Breaston's speed makes him a deep threat, and he often sees single coverage.

--WR Early Doucet has passed Jerheme Urban for the No. 4 job. Doucet scored his first NFL touchdown last week.

--TE Ben Patrick continues to be the team's most effective tight end, especially in the red zone. Patrick missed the past two games with a concussion but should be ready to play in the playoffs.

--TE Anthony Becht is the best blocking tight end on the club, but he's not a big part of the passing game.

--K Neil Rackers has been reliable this season, missing only one field goal. He returned last week after missing two games with a groin injury.

--DE Calais Campbell has seven sacks in his first full season as a starter, but has a fractured left thumb. He likely will be playing with a cast, which would limit his effectiveness.

--FS Antrel Rolle missed last week's game with a thigh bruise but is expected to return this week. His backup, Rashad Johnson, has not developed quickly in his rookie season.

--CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie suffered a left kneecap contusion and probably will be limited in practice this week. He is expected to play. His backup, Michael Adams, is a fierce competitor but the Packers will try to take advantage of him if he has to start.



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