Injured Cardinals receivers Early Doucet (left) and Larry Fitzgerald share a laugh during the Cards' 24-10 loss to the Titans Monday night.
NASHVILLE – He's not playing yet and the chances of him playing prior to the regular-season opener Sept. 12 in St. Louis is unlikely, if for no other reason than playing it safe.
But wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald looked awfully good before Monday night's loss to Tennessee running and cutting while rehabbing pre-game, just eight days removed from his right knee in the preseason opener.
"I don't think there is any question in any of our minds he will be ready for the first game," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "He might be ready for the last preseason game although that's not something we are pushing to do."
Whether Fitzgerald gets a chance to sport his beloved black jersey in the preseason finale against Washington is up in the air, the fact he could return has to be good news for an offense struggling so far in the preseason.
"The hardest thing with Larry is slowing him down," Whisenhunt said. "If Larry had his preference, he'd be playing next week. Like we said, we will be conservative."
HALL CALL FOR MAX
Rookie quarterback Max Hall finally made his debut, completing 7-of-15 passes for 101 yards, throwing an interception early but coming back to throw a touchdown pass to rookie receiver Max Komar.
"It took me a series and an interception to get going, but once I settled down, things started feeling better," Hall said.
Hall didn't play in the preseason opener, when the Cards played fellow rookie John Skelton instead.
"I made a lot of mistakes, but I am getting better," Hall said. "(A game) is just so different. I have been doing well in practice, but today it took me a few plays to get comfortable.
"I hate it admit it, but I was a little bit nervous."
WILLIAMS' LEARNING CURVE
Rookie Stephen Williams started Monday night and had three catches for a team-best 59 yards. But it was two of his misses – among the eight passes thrown his way – that caught the attention.
The first was a deep pass from Matt Leinart that was left short of Williams and over the wrong shoulder. Leinart said Williams looked for the ball a little late, although Whisenhunt said it wasn't a miscommunication.
"Stephen didn't run a great route but he did win over the top (past the defensive back)," Whisenhunt said. "We specifically knew we'd have the opportunity to try and throw it. Those are things you learn about players and you are disappointed they weren't executed better but I know this, the next time we are in that situation we will execute it better because I am going to get on them about it."
The other was a slant into the end zone that was thrown behind an open Williams by Derek Anderson. Whisenhunt said a veteran receiver would have known to "flatten" out the route, something Anderson said to Williams after the play.
"It's about timing," Williams said of the plays. "We just have to get more reps together and we'll be better."
Wide receiver Andre Roberts and nose tackle Gabe Watson hurt their shoulders in the game and will be re-evaluated Tuesday. Besides Fitzgerald, wide receiver Early Doucet (abdomen) and tight end Ben Patrick (knee) and linebacker Reggie Walker (hamstring) did not play because of injury.
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