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D.J. Humphries, Tyvon Branch Done For Season

Posted Nov 10, 2017

Jared Veldheer will move to left tackle, while Budda Baker will fill Branch's spot

Cardinals tackle Jared Veldheer will move back to the left side after the season-ending injury to D.J. Humphries.

The Cardinals’ star-studded injured reserve list is getting longer.

The knee injuries suffered by safety Tyvon Branch and left tackle D.J. Humphries in Thursday’s loss to the Seahawks will keep them out the rest of the season, coach Bruce Arians said Friday. Reserve tight end Ifeanyi Momah is also done for the year with a broken leg.

The Cardinals already had eight players on injured reserve, including quarterback Carson Palmer, running back David Johnson, outside linebacker Markus Golden and guard Mike Iupati.

Arians said Jared Veldheer will likely switch back to left tackle, the position he played his entire career before moving to the right side this season. Arians hesitated making the move earlier when Humphries was temporarily sidelined with a knee sprain, but is doing it now with Humphries done permanently.

“He’ll be our best left tackle now,” Arians said of Veldheer.

John Wetzel will take over at right tackle. 

Humphries was originally feared to have a torn ACL, but Arians said the prognosis turned out to be a dislocated kneecap and an MCL injury. While it will still shelve him the rest of the year, it’s a better long-term forecast. Humphries is expected to be sidelined for three months, but should be back for OTAs next offseason.

“It’s kind of been a chronic MCL for him, because he had a brace on,” Arians said. “That should fix that problem he’s had. It’s a shame, because he was playing really, really well.”

Branch was injured as he tried to defend Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham on a 6-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. He will have a cartilage repair operation repair on Friday “because his knee is locked,” Arians said, and will have a subsequent ACL surgery later.

Branch was one of the Cardinals’ most effective defensive players through the season’s first half, and Arians said his loss is a big one.

“You lose your top tackler,” Arians said. “He was having a great year. I don’t know if he had the reputation to play in the Pro Bowl, but he had the game. He was playing at that level. He bailed us out twice last night when guys were beat. He came over the top and broke up balls. It’s just a shame.”

Rookie second-round pick Budda Baker will take Branch’s spot in the lineup. He played a significant amount of snaps after Branch's injury against Seattle and Arians was happy with his performance. Baker finished with seven tackles and a pass defensed on defense and nearly had an interception.

Momah has a broken leg and may need reconstruction on his ankle, Arians said. Momah was a key special teams member in addition to his duties as a backup tight end.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was lost for the year on Thursday with a ruptured Achilles, and several other players were injured in the game. Arians was asked if the short week played a part in the injuries that popped up.

“I’ve always felt that, but it’s not going away,” Arians said. “You have to deal with it. But there were some major injuries in that game, on both sides.”

Arians said the type of major injuries Humphries, Branch and Momah suffered likely weren’t a result of playing on Thursday.

“D.J. was freaky, Tyvon was freaky, Momah was freaky, so I don’t know if it had anything to do with it,” Arians said.

These losses are the latest in a season full of major injuries for the Cardinals. At 4-5, Arians said it’s imperative to keep pushing forward.

“With the way the league is going right now, you’ve just got to win next week,” Arians said. “There are going to be about 20 teams that are .500. You just hope to be one of them. And then just see how it plays out.”

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