Cardinals hope off weekend helps injured players recover

TEMPE, Ariz. – There’s always the flip side to playing a Thursday-night game.

It’s having a long weekend off.

The Arizona Cardinals won’t return to practice until Tuesday with a bonus day, coach Bruce Arians said Friday. That’ll give a slew of injured players an extra four days to recover before they start preparing for Philadelphia.

“It’s the best part,” Arians said. “Now that it’s over, it’s the best part. We get another open date. Like I said, we should get three guys back, hopefully, and should get some very good rest.”

The only major injury from Thursday’s 23-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings was a concussion to defensive back Brittan Golden. He’s in the process of going through the concussion protocol, Arians said, “but he seems fine.”

Rookie running back David Johnson suffered a thigh bruise Thursday, Arians added.

With the extra days to continue recovering, Arians feels it’s possible defensive tackle Frostee Rucker, cornerback Jerraud Powers and tight end Jermaine Gresham can get practice reps late next week. But the coach wasn’t as sure about running back Andre Ellington returning next week from turf toe.

“It’s a pain tolerance issue when he cuts,” Arians said.

Whether Ellington replaces Johnson as the Cardinals’ feature back when he returns is yet to be determined, Arians said. It’ll be based off “what speed he comes back at.”

As much as the Cardinals – or any team, for that matter – don’t like Thursday games, they’re experiencing the benefits, which may end up factoring into the Cardinals’ long-term success this season.

“It’s extremely, extremely hard physically and mentally tough on the guys,” Arians said. "That’s why it’s -so nice to have the break now.

“It’s hard to put into words what their bodies go through in that time. You’re normally off Monday and Tuesday. Then you’re practicing. It’s very hard.”