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Christian Kirk Injury Could Be Another Blow To Cardinals' Offense

Wide receiver hurt ankle late in loss to Seattle

Wide receiver Christian Kirk runs upfield after a catch against the Seahawks on Sunday.
Wide receiver Christian Kirk runs upfield after a catch against the Seahawks on Sunday.

Kliff Kingsbury said he knows some things about the ankle injury wide receiver Christian Kirk suffered in the waning seconds of the loss to the Seahawks, but not enough "concrete" that he could say until Wednesday – the next time Kingsbury addresses the media.

But the Cardinals coach didn't exactly exude optimism when talking about one of his top receivers.

"He's a dynamic player who has had a great start to the season, so you hate it for him," Kingsbury said Monday, less than 24 hours after the awkward tackle of Seahawks cornerback – and former Kirk teammate – Jamar Taylor bent Kirk's right ankle on a nasty looking play.

"We'll continue to find answers and do whatever we need to do."

The Cardinals likely will have to juggle some decisions at the position should Kirk miss time. Just two weeks ago, they had seven wide receivers on the roster and active against the Panthers. Then the team released Michael Crabtree, and starter Damiere Byrd missed the Seahawks game because of a hamstring injury. Byrd did not practice at all last week.

If Byrd were to miss a second game, and assuming Kirk missed a game, the Cardinals would be down to four healthy wideouts. They have an open spot on the 53-man roster after releasing safety D.J. Swearinger Monday, and Kingsbury did not rule out the team signing a receiver. The Cardinals also brought back undrafted rookie A.J. Richardson, who spent the offseason and preseason with the team, to the practice squad.

Larry Fitzgerald and Trent Sherfield started with Kirk Sunday. Rookie KeeSean Johnson will be in the mix, while rookie second-round pick Andy Isabella – who has yet to make a reception but had a season-high eight offensive snaps against Seattle – is the remaining player with extensive practice work in the slot.

The Cardinals have used more "11" personnel as the weeks have gone on – less four-receiver sets in favor of three receivers and a tight end – and Kingsbury praised the work of tight ends Maxx Williams and Charles Clay, limited as it has been.

Running back David Johnson was actually the Cardinals' top pass catcher Sunday with eight receptions for 99 yards as the Seahawks played off the line of scrimmage on defense and checkdown passes were available.

Johnson does have some wide-receiver-type skills, but Kingsbury shot down the idea he could switch positions in light of Kirk troubles.

"We're going to continue to be creative with David," Kingsbury said. "He can do it all. But as a consistent receiver, I don't see us making that move wholesale."

Kirk was expected to have a big year in Kingsbury's offense. Early on, he has a team-leading 24 catches for 242 yards through four games.

"We've had some tough injuries obviously, but it's a young group working hard and trying to get on the same page with a young quarterback," Kingsbury said. "Outside of Fitz, not many of those guys have much NFL experience. It'll be a growing process for everybody."

EXTRA POINT: Kingsbury said he would also have further information about the shoulder injury to defensive end Zach Allen on Wednesday.

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