The Cardinals held their annual Red and White Practice Saturday, an event that in many ways is a celebration of training camp.
Team president Michael Bidwill did his annual presentation of the Pro Bowl jerseys (to Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, Chandler Jones and Budda Baker) and coach Steve Wilks gave a quick inspirational speech to the estimated 20,000 in attendance at University of Phoenix Stadium. Linebacker Deone Bucannon even wore a smile later, talking about how lucky he was to avoid a serious injury earlier in the week.
The question now, however, is whether center A.Q. Shipley will have similar fortune.
Midway through practice, Shipley went down after a play. While he was able to walk off the field, he looked to be favoring his left leg, and when he was carted to the locker room soon after, he wore a towel over his head.
“It’s always tough,” defensive tackle Corey Peters said. “(Shipley is) one of our veteran leaders, somebody who has been in the league a long time, knows what to expect, helps the guys around him. We’re hoping everything is all right.”
Rookie Mason Cole, who has been running as second-team center, stepped in with the starters through the balance of practice. Daniel Munyer has been the third-team center, and guard Evan Boehm was originally drafted to be a center.
“Mason has all the tools,” Peters said. “Big, strong guy, a Michigan man who saw great competition in college, NFL-caliber talent he was going against. He stepped in, we got some opportunities to go against each other, and I think he’ll be able to do the job if need be.
“You have make a lot of calls at center, you have to be able to direct traffic out there, so that’s more of the challenge. He definitely has the physical tools.”
Shipley has started all 16 games in each of the last two seasons for the Cardinals, the lone iron man on a unit that has suffered multiple injuries the in both 2016 and 2017.
The Cardinals have an off day Sunday, and return to practice Monday afternoon.
By then, there is a chance Bucannon could be back on the field, although the linebacker wasn’t predicting any date after his near-miss of a knee injury. Bucannon slammed his left knee against the helmet of wide receiver Brice Butler Thursday, but an MRI showed all the ligaments intact.
“Nothing serious, thank God for that,” Bucannon said. “Could’ve been a lot worse. I’ll be back soon.”
Bucannon added that he’d like the same result for Shipley.
“I’m hoping for the best,” Bucannon said.