Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer will play one series Saturday against the Chiefs in the preseason opener.
Carson Palmer remembers the first time he played after tearing his ACL back in 2006, seeing "color flash in front of you" and mentally not being able to step into a pass.
"I don't feel that way now," the Cardinals quarterback said Wednesday, with his first game appearance coming Saturday in the team's preseason opener against the Chiefs at University of Phoenix Stadium.
"That's the biggest mental hurdle I had last time that I don't think I have this time," Palmer added.
Coach Bruce Arians said Palmer will play one series against Kansas City, whether that is one play, three plays or 10.
Arians acknowledged "you just keep holding your breath" that Palmer does not get hurt again, after tearing his ACL in November. But practice is necessary and needed for every quarterback, Arians said, and so too is some work during games. Just seeing Palmer's perfect bomb to John Brown at the end of practice Tuesday – about 65 yards in the air, on target, with pressure around him – isn't enough.
"It's got to be full speed, not always on balance, you've got to move in the pocket," Arians said. "You need real work to go play in September."
Palmer has long been pushing to make sure he plays. The veteran likes to get in a game sooner rather than later anyway, hopefully absorbing a hit or two so that his body starts to understand what it will take to get back to practice after a day or so.
Palmer plans on it being like any other preseason opener – although he admitted he can't be 100 percent sure those flashes of color won't get in his head.
"Time will tell," Palmer said. "We'll know Saturday. I don't foresee that but you can't know until you put yourself in that position."
MISSING RUNNING BACKS, MISSING OFFENSIVE PLANS
The Cardinals like Andre Ellington at running back because he can catch the ball as well as rush it. They drafted David Johnson in the third round for the same reason, realizing that if Ellington gets hurt, they'd still have Johnson to run their desired offense – unlike last
season after Ellington went down.
Right now, both have been absent from practice. Ellington has returned from a hamstring problem but remains limited, while Johnson is still out with his own bad hamstring.
"It's a pain in the ass when you've got two guys not practicing and you have packages for them and you can't install them because it's not fair to (other backs) because it's not their skill set," Arians said.
Arians said the Cards modify practice and their scripts to make it better fit the running backs which are available. Palmer said the Cards are still able to get the work done that's needed, but Arians clearly is hoping for the return of his backfield playmakers.
"Without them in there, other runners run different runs better and they damn sure aren't the receivers those two are," Arians said. "You're not practicing a lot of things you want to run during the season."
WEATHERSPOON HAMSTRING INJURY LINGERS
Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon was supposed to return to practice this week, but his first try Tuesday was cut short when his problem hamstring remained a problem, and Arians said Weatherspoon could be out another week.
Weatherspoon admitted he was frustrated but said getting healthy by the start of the regular season was the priority.
Cornerback Jerraud Powers returned to practice Wednesday, although the injury list remains lengthy. Added was safety Chris Clemons, who hurt his groin. Also sitting out were CB Darren Woodard (groin), LB Zack Wagenmann (foot), LB Shaq Riddick (hamstring), LB Darryl Sharpton (hip flexor), WR Michael Floyd (hand), T Rob Crisp (knee), Johnson and Weatherspoon.
Images from the tenth training camp practice on Wednesday