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Cardinals Place Budda Baker On Injured Reserve

Pro Bowl safety will miss at least four more games

The Cardinals have put safety Budda Baker on IR.
The Cardinals have put safety Budda Baker on IR.

The Cardinals are going to be without Pro Bowl safety Budda Baker for at least a month.

Baker, who hurt his hamstring in practice on Friday before the Giants game, was placed on Injured Reserve on Monday. He must miss at least four more games, meaning the earliest he can return will be the Oct. 22 game in Seattle.

While Baker missed the last two games of 2022 with a shoulder injury, this stint will mark 2023 as the most games Baker has missed in a season. Including last season, Baker had missed just five total games in his career since arriving in 2017. This year he will miss at least five.

"He's going to miss some time but he'll be back," coach Jonathan Gannon said, adding that Baker did not tear the hamstring.

"We all have to rally around it. You're never going to replace a Budda Baker, but we have guys we feel comfortable that can get the job done and play winning football for us."

To fill Baker's roster spot, the Cardinals signed safety Qwuantrezz Knight from the 49ers practice squad.

The team also made a pair of practice squad moves, putting offensive lineman Hayden Howerton on PS IR and signing safety Joey Blount.

"We missed him a lot," fellow safety Jalen Thompson said after the loss to the Giants. "That's our defensive captain right there. It's always good having him on the field. As a leader he makes sure we are all set and all good. It was a big loss to not have Budda out there but it's next man up. We have to keep going and keep going hard."

Losing Baker likely means that Andre Chachere, who was promoted from the practice squad once Baker got hurt, will continue to have a large role on defense. The Cardinals also have the option to move Thompson back to a full-time safety role (he has been playing a lot of nickel) and use veteran cornerback Antonio Hamilton more.

"I thought Andre stepped up and played well," Gannon said. "Made a couple tackles, a couple of (pass breakups). He's as smart as they come. That's why he's here. We'll continue to evaluate who the best people are to put out there."

The Cardinals are also short on the defensive line, with L.J. Collier on IR and injuries costing Leki Fotu and Carlos Watkins playing time. Gannon said the Cardinals are still evaluating Watkins' biceps injury.

The top images taken by the Cardinals team photographer during the 2023 Week 2 regular season game against New York, presented by Earnhardt Auto Centers.