The rain finally fell Friday, forcing the team inside the Walkup Skydome for the first time since practices started. Not much can be done on the aging Astroturf, although there are tentative plans to get something like FieldTurf installed before camp rolls around again in 2007.
For now, though, discretion is the word, especially with key injuries this week to Oliver Ross and Kenny King. Health, a key component to any good NFL team, is a top buzzword around the Cardinals. All of their positive momentum could be shot down with a rash of injuries.
Good news for King? As it turns out, defensive end Kenny King suffered a broken right hand when he was hurt Thursday, and insisted Friday there were no problems with the right wrist King had injured the past two years.
That’s the reason King was smiling Friday, even though he said the hand injury will keep him out 4 to 6 weeks.
“It’s definitely a relief,” King said.
King hit his hand on a teammate’s helmet. No surgery is needed. He said had it happened on the left hand, he might have been able to play just by casting it. But because the injury is near his problem wrist — which has been permanently fused — he said he probably can’t play with it.
That’s not a good sign, because King was having an impressive camp. His absence leaves only Antonio Smith has an reserve defensive end, since Calvin Pace is practicing as the strongside starting linebacker with Karlos Dansby still out with a thumb injury.
Ross waits: Coach Dennis Green said tackle Oliver Ross will get a second opinion on the torn meniscus in his right knee, and likely have decided on a surgical date by Monday. Ross could miss anywhere from a month to 10 weeks depending on how extensive the surgery is to repair the injury.
Hodgins the teacher: Fullback James Hodgins hopes to return to practice next week, having spent the first week of camp working on rehabbing his surgically repaired knee. Hodgins admits he was “really upset” the team held him out, but now acknowledges it was probably helpful.
As far as playing for the Cards again, Hodgins understands his roster spot is tenuous at best. But he also said he plans to help tight end-turned-fullback John Bronson learn the position, even if it hastens Hodgins’ departure.
“Football, even though we are competing for jobs, it’s a brotherhood,” Hodgins said. “It needs to be passed along. If I am not doing it, I want someone in there doing it right. We’re kind of a dying breed. It’s a big thing for us to have fullbacks remain in the game before teams eliminate us completely.”
TODAY AT CAMP
The Cardinals will hold their mock game at Glendale’s Cardinals Stadium. It is closed to the public.
Still out: FB James Hodgins (Physically unable to perform-knee), DE Anton Palepoi (PUP-shoulder), LB Karlos Dansby (thumb), RB Roger Robinson (toe), T Oliver Ross (knee), DL Kenny King (hand), DT Tim Bulman (back), G Rolando Cantu (knee).
Ht.: 6-3; Wt.: 240; Pos.: LB
Role: Backup on the weak side
How he got here: Chosen in the third round of the 2005 draft. Struggled to make much of an impact thus far.
Together again: Was a one-time high school teammate of current Cardinals teammate Elton Brown.
— Compiled by Darren Urban