Quarterback Carson Palmer throws a pass Wednesday at practice. Palmer plans to be able to play in Denver Oct. 5.
The rumor going around was that Bruce Arians was going to cancel the Cardinals' final bye week practice Wednesday, and that was a blow to Carson Palmer.
"I was the only one in this locker room who was really bummed," the quarterback said.
It turned out OK. Arians didn't cancel practice – although he did cut it well short – so Palmer was able to throw for the first time since a nerve problem in his shoulder sidelined him following the regular-season opener and all of the other practices since.
Palmer didn't throw any passes beyond 10 yards Wednesday and didn't truly let loose, but the quarterback is on schedule to be back in the lineup a week from Sunday, when the Cardinals visit the Denver Broncos.
Drew Stanton would return to his backup role.
"It felt great," Palmer said. "It's a slow process. Every day I'm going to throw a little more, a little more. The plan is to be firing on all cylinders at least by Wednesday of next week.
"If I can't (play) Drew is more than ready, he's proved that. But (Denver) is part of the timetable and I expect to get ready."
The players are now off until Monday, but Arians said Palmer will continue to throw the ball "as treatment" throughout the weekend. The hope is that Palmer will be back to normal for Monday's practice.
"That's our goal right now," Arians said.
Stanton was stellar in his performance against the 49ers last weekend and guided the Cardinals to a 2-0 mark in his starts. He's known all along his place in the lineup was tied to Palmer's recovery and even if his playing time ends, Stanton said it benefitted the team beyond a pair of victories.
"It shows the guys in the locker room, who see we can win and overcome things," Stanton said. "That's been the mentality around here, and (my play) has been just another reassuring thing.
"Once Carson is back and ready to play I go back to my role as backup. It won't change my approach and won't change how I operate."
Palmer has been waiting for the nerve to "wake up" for weeks, although he said it wasn't like he suddenly felt right. It was a gradual process. Palmer said he noticed he really felt right for the first time Monday morning as he got up to go to the bathroom.
Wednesday, with the first consistent throwing, was important. Protecting it further is also important. Palmer and the quarterbacks got a second benefit out of practice Wednesday. Quarterbacks coach Freddie Kitchens decided to have his guys work on their sliding – which happens once in a while – and Kitchens broke out the slip-and-slide.
Palmer was left drenched in his jersey and sweatpants by the time it was over. Given that Palmer was hurt after he failed to slide in the Chargers game – instead taking on San Diego safety Eric Weddle in a big collision with his throwing shoulder -- "it was something we needed to work on," Palmer said.
Throwing is also something that needs to be practiced, but at least Palmer is able to do that again. Normalcy is close to returning.
"It's just a big relief," Palmer said. "There is always that sliver of doubt in the back of your mind. But I trusted in our (doctors and trainers) and they were right."
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