PRESCOTT - Anquan Boldin doesn’t know when the rehabilitation of his surgically repaired right knee will get him back on the field, admitting it is too early to tell whether it will fall closer to two months or three months in the original 8-to-12 week diagnosis.
The Cardinals Pro Bowl wide receiver is content for now to bide his time in Phoenix, seeing improvement on a daily basis after repairing a tear in his meniscus. The initial emotion of suffering the injury — he went down Aug. 10 and had surgery the next day — has faded.
"I was disappointed," Boldin said Tuesday, in his first interview since getting hurt. "But this is better for me in the long run."
Of all the injuries the Cardinals have suffered through camp, Boldin’s has been the most difficult to overcome. Boldin was the team’s best playmaker and security blanket for quarterback Josh McCown. Combined with the fractured foot of Bryant Johnson and the sprained ankle of Larry Fitzgerald, the Cards will be without their top three receivers for most of training camp.
Both Johnson and Fitzgerald should return by the Sept. 12 season opener, coach Dennis Green optimistically said Tuesday.
Boldin, though, isn’t rushing back. Not with so many productive seasons seemingly ahead of him.
"I’d rather be back 100 percent at a later date," said Boldin, who broke the NFL record for rookie receptions with 101 last season. "You don’t want to miss any games, but at least I’m not going to miss the season."
Boldin was sparkling at training camp through the first week in Flagstaff. Then, prior to the first practice after the team held its team scrimmage and mock game in Flagstaff’s Walkup Skydome, Boldin had trouble with his knee.
That day — Aug. 9 — Boldin sat out the more rigorous morning practice and underwent a magnetic resonance imaging test. Boldin was told by the team the MRI was negative, and he said he thought the problem "was just me." He practiced in the lighter afternoon workout.
When Boldin came out for warm-ups the following morning, he was barely jogging when he felt the knee lock up again.
"I knew it wasn’t just me," Boldin said.
"I don’t know who read (the original MRI)," Boldin added. "I’m sure no one wanted this to happen to me. It’s not like I’m holding a grudge."
Through a team spokesman, the Cardinals declined to comment on who read the MRI.
Boldin was upset, especially after undergoing anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction on his left knee in college, which cost him an entire season. He said it "actually kind of cheered me up" when he found out his ligaments were OK.
But, like the team, Boldin underwent surgery thinking the procedure was only going to keep him out a couple of weeks. Once they began the operation, doctors realized he needed to repair a meniscus tear instead of just shaving off a loose particle, and he would be out until at least mid-October.
Two weeks later, Boldin is faithfully heading to downtown Phoenix and Richard Elsner’s Physiotherapy Associates every day to rehab the knee. Boldin said he would return to the team’s Tempe facility once his teammates do next week.
He chuckled when asked about the offense’s troubles in his absence, but promised it would eventually get better.
"Injuries are going to happen, and when you’re not healthy, you’re not going to win," Boldin said. "But when we do get everyone out there, you’ll see what everyone was talking about."