After jumping to a 7-0 start this season, the Cardinals stumbled down the stretch, losing four of their last five games to finish as the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoff bracket. Arizona could certainly use some help as it heads to Los Angeles to take on a Rams team with Super Bowl aspirations, and that help could come in the form of two veteran players.
Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and defensive lineman JJ Watt have missed significant portions of the 2021 regular season with injuries, but there has been speculation about the stars’ return for Arizona’s wild-card matchup against Los Angeles. . Will they be able to dress?
Here are the latest updates on Hopkins and Watt ahead of Monday’s game.
MORE: NFL playoff picks, predictions for wild card games
Will DeAndre Hopkins play against the Rams?
Last Wednesday, Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury revealed to Hopkins will not be available to return for the wild card game. Hopkins suffered a torn MCL in week 14, and the injury required surgery.
Kingsbury’s announcement was not a huge surprise. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported in mid-December that Hopkins “could be back” for the NFC championship game or Super Bowl if the Cardinals could advance that far, but it was “unrealistic” to expect a return before those rounds.
In 10 regular season games, Hopkins had 42 receptions for 572 yards and eight touchdowns.
Will JJ Watt play against the Rams?
Watt, who appeared to suffer a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 7, is expected to play in the wild-card game. according to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports.
The Cardinals designated Watt to return from injured reserve on Jan. 7, opening the door for an incredible comeback. While not officially cleared to play, Kingsbury told reporters on Saturday that Watt has “done everything humanly possible to put himself in this position”.
“I know, if he gets away with it, he’ll be there,” Kingsbury said. “But we have to be smart, do the right thing and make sure it’s the right thing for all parties involved.”
The former Defensive Player of the Year only recorded 16 total tackles and one sack in seven games this season before undergoing surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder, but he’s still capable of creating problems for opposing offensive lines when he’s healthy.
Cardinals vs. Rams injury report
(Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET on Saturday)
|cardinals||Kelvin Beachum||OL||To rest||—|
|cardinals||Zach Ertz||IN||To rest||—|
|cardinals||rodney hudson||OL||To rest||—|
|cardinals||go round moore||WR||Ankle||Questionable|
|rams||aaron donald||DL||To rest||—|
|rams||rap taylor||yes||Concussion||Out of|
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.