Carson Palmer won’t be spending his bye week on a couch.
He has too much throwing to catch up on. He’ll be spending the Arizona Cardinals’ off weekend on a field throwing as part of his rehabilitation from a bruised nerve in his right shoulder, coach Bruce Arians said. Palmer said this week he wants to be ready to return by Wednesday, giving him three days of practice before Arizona heads to Denver. Arians hopes he’s back “firing on all cylinders” by Monday.
Palmer hasn’t played since Week 1, but he believes he can play against the Broncos on Oct. 5. If he can’t, backup quarterback Drew Stanton will start his third straight game.
Palmer reportedly began throwing during Tuesday’s practice, but his passing intensified on Wednesday, two days after the nerves in his shoulder began to fire again.
Palmer woke up Monday morning and noticed his shoulder was moving better. There wasn’t a sharp pain or a soothing feeling that indicated the shoulder had improved, he said. It just started working.
"I’ve been told over and over again this is something that just turns back on when the nerve is ready and the swelling is down around the nerve, then all of a sudden the nerve starts to fire,” Palmer said. “I was hoping it’d be sooner rather than later.”
Palmer said his arm felt “great” after Wednesday’s practice, and Arians thought it was getting “better and better.” But Palmer said returning to the point he was at before Week 1 will be a slow process.
“Every day I’m going to throw a little bit more, a little bit more, a little bit more,” he said.
But Palmer’s return should wait a week. By the time he begins practicing on Monday, three weeks will have passed since Palmer last threw to his teammates during a game.
With Denver coming up next Sunday, his arm and the Cardinals would benefit from an extra week to rest. Playing the Broncos will be the type of measuring stick Arizona needs this early in the season.
At 3-0, the Cardinals are one of the surprises of the early season, but a win over Peyton Manning would establish them as a contender for the foreseeable future. It'll also go far for Arizona’s confidence.
But how effective will Palmer be after the next 11 days of throwing? Will his arm be at full strength? Will he get fatigued easily while working to get his arm back? Too many questions in such a big game, even if it is an interconference battle.
Palmer’s competitive edge won’t back down, that much has been established this season.
While he’ll follow the trainer’s guidelines, Palmer can’t afford to push his arm harder during the next week-and-a-half. There's too much at stake for this team in the long run.
There’s also the results that Stanton has produced. He’s had the Cardinals playing winning football, which is all every quarterback is asked to do. While he’s the established backup on this team, he’s also been productive.
Palmer will have just a few practices next week to get back on the same page with his receivers, running backs and tight ends.
But Arizona needs to look toward December and January. After Denver, the Cardinals play Washington and Oakland in consecutive weeks. Both teams sit in last place in their respective divisions.
And both teams would give Palmer the perfect opportunities to work his arm back into shape after missing three weeks.