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Arizona Cardinals Hope Jonathan Cooper Can Return Late This Season

August 28th, 2013 at 6:16 AM
By Steve Smith

'Cardinals vs Colts' photo (c) 2009, Jason Trim - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
The Arizona Cardinals are holding out hope that guard Jonathan Cooper can return before the 2013 NFL campaign is over.

The first round draft pick had surgery on Sunday to repair his fractured fibula, which he suffered in last Saturday's 24-7 loss to the San Diego Chargers. Rehabilitation is expected to take 10 to 12 weeks but the Red Birds are holding out hope that the University of North Carolina product can still play this season.

According to azcentral.com, the Cardinals are planning to put Cooper on the injured reserve/designated list in hopes that he will be able to return late this season.

“We don’t want him to be a rookie next year,” head coach Bruce Arians told azcentral.com. “Hopefully, that won’t be the case.”

It would be a shame if Cooper, ranked by many experts as the top offensive guard in this year's NFL Draft, had to miss his entire rookie season. If Cardinals management feels that Cooper has a legitimate chance of returning then they'd have to keep a roster spot open for him.

That will require the Red Birds carrying Cooper on their 53-man roster after final cuts are made.

In Arizona's eyes, it's probably worth the gamble.

Mendenhall should be ready for season opener

Running back Rashard Mendenhall, who sprained his right knee again San Diego, should be ready for the Cardinals season opener against the St. Louis Rams on Sept. 8. The former Steeler has also been battling tendonitis in training camp but all systems appear to be a go for the opener.

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Tags: Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Bruce Arians, Football, Jonathan Cooper, NFL, Rashard Mendenhall

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