Rookie free safety Tyrann Mathieu tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee during Sunday's 30-10 win over the St. Louis Rams, head coach Bruce Arians said yesterday. An MRI exam yesterday morning confirmed the injuries.
The LSU product will wait 10 days to allow the LCL to begin healing before he has surgery to repair both ligaments. Recovery could take about nine months overall.
The hit occurred with about nine minutes left in the third quarter on a free kick return after the Cardinals recorded a safety. Mathieu got up and began jogging off the field when his left knee buckled and he fell to the turf. He was carted to the locker room and did not return.
The "Honey Badger" has become one of the league's top rookie defenders after falling to the third round in this April's draft and was a candidate for NFL defensive rookie of the year. Arians said he thought Mathieu should win the award.
"To me, he's a lock," Arians said via espn.com. "I don't know if anybody else has played as much as he's played and all the positions he's played. I just wish that [Rams punter Johnny Hekker] kicked that damn ball to Patrick."
Mathieu has 63 tackles — second best on the team — along with two interceptions and a forced fumble this season. He was named NFC Rookie of the Month in October. Mathieu, who became a full-time starter in Week Four against Tampa Bay, will be replaced in the lineup by safety Rashad Johnson. Johnson had an interception against the Rams on Sunday.
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