TEMPE, Ariz. — With Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray‘s high left ankle sprain entering its sixth week, coach Kliff Kingsbury said Friday his quarterback’s status for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears will be a game-time decision, in part because of strategy and in part because the memory of last year’s tailspin in the final nine games is still fresh in Kingsbury’s memory.
Murray “has done better this week,” said Kingsbury, who added he’s hopeful that Murray will feel good on Sunday and “be ready to roll.” Murray hasn’t played since spraining his ankle in the final moments of a Week 8 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
But being overly cautious with Murray has been the plan all along.
“There’s obviously some cat-and-mouse in this sport, but I mean, with a player like him, the position we’re in, we were going to be overly cautious this entire time,” Kingsbury said. “And we still are and so we want to make sure when we get him back, he’s playing at a high level, and he can’t reinjure it to a point that we lose him for a substantial amount of time.”
Arizona heads into Week 13 with a 9-2 record, the best in the NFL, and owns the No. 1 seed in the NFC and first place in the NFC West.
Last year’s late-season tailspin, when Arizona went 3-6 after starting 5-2, in part because of multiple injuries to Murray, has also played a factor in Kingsbury being ultra-cautious with Murray.
“I just think we want to finish the right way this season and we didn’t last year,” Kingsbury said. “So, we’re just trying to be smart about it.”
Kingsbury hasn’t been surprised by how long Murray’s ankle has taken to heal because high ankle sprains are “tricky. Everybody knows that.”
Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who’s also been out for five weeks with a hamstring injury, will test their respective injuries before Sunday’s game at Soldier Field. Then a decision on their statuses will be made.
Hopkins wasn’t on the field for the open portion of practice Friday after being limited Wednesday and Thursday.
“We’re just being smart,” Kingsbury said. “We want to make sure he feels really good for the stretch run, and so we’ll see how he progresses, run him on Sunday and see if he can go.”
Hopkins said having the last two weeks off because of the bye helped him “a lot.”
“Rest is key,” he said.
Hopkins, who had missed two games in his entire career before missing the last three, doesn’t think he’ll be rusty whenever he returns, and he isn’t concerned about his hamstring responding to him playing at full speed.
“I know what I can do out there when I’m healthy,” he said. “So, go out there and do my best to help this team win.”
Source : ESPN