Rookie wide receiver Hakeem Butler’s season could be in jeopardy after suffering a hand injury last game, but coach Kliff Kingsbury said Tuesday it was “too early to tell” if Butler will land on injured reserve.
“We’re still working through it,” Kingsbury said. “He’s a guy who has a ton of ability.”
NFL Network reported it was an avulsion fracture, when a tendon or ligament pulls off a piece of the bone. Not surprisingly, Kingsbury said Butler will miss the final two preseason games.
Butler, who has one reception for six yards in the preseason, has been up and down during training camp. The 6-foot-5 fourth-round pick has shown the speed and the ability to go up in traffic and make spectacular grabs, especially in the red zone. But he also has had trouble consistently catching the ball.
The Cardinals are still trying to figure out who their receiving corps will be beyond Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk. Second-year man Trent Sherfield looks like he has likely nailed down a spot, and draft picks Andy Isabella and KeeSean Johnson will be in the mix in some fashion.
Butler was going to make the roster, although it seemed unlikely that Butler was going to make a significant impact early in the season regardless of the injury. Kingsbury acknowledged it is an advantage to have someone with the combination of Butler’s size and speed on the roster.
“He was hitting his stride,” quarterback Kyler Murray said. “With a guy like him, big, fast, can run, can go up and get the ball, you want to see what he can do and he was starting to do that.”
If Butler were to land on IR, it would be “unfortunate,” Kingsbury said. “We wouldn’t be able to develop him like we wanted.”
OFFENSE, WITH “WRINKLES” STILL MOSTLY UNDER WRAPS IN THIRD PRESEASON GAME
The Cardinals are approaching the third game of the preseason like most teams, in terms of ramping up preparation and starters playing their longest stretch. Murray said the Cardinals “actually have a couple of wrinkles in for the gameplan this week” and that the energy is different as the team treats it like a regular game week.
But Kingsbury acknowledged most of the playcalls will remain fairly vanilla against the Vikings Saturday.
“It’s still not going to be as complex as we want to be (in the regular season), but I would just say we have worked our processes more this week as gameplanning goes,” Kingsbury said.
Kingsbury said he believes that the Cardinals’ offense will be able to perform the entire playbook once the regular season begins even without using many of the bells and whistles in games, citing the number of reps the offense has received in both walkthroughs and practice.
“I feel comfortable with the execution level I’ve seen versus our defense,” Kingsbury said.
PUGH STATUS STILL UNKNOWN AS COLE FILLS IN
Kingsbury said there was still uncertainty whether left guard Justin Pugh (shoulder) would be able to play this week, a decision that will be made over the practice days Tuesday and Wednesday. If Pugh can’t go, Mason Cole will continue in that spot.
“Mason has done a nice job at all positions we’ve plugged him in,” Kingsbury said. “Guard, center, tackle even – kind of the jack-of-all-trades for us. Still a young player, but he develops each week.”
Kingsbury spoke before practice, but among those not seen during the open portion of work were linebacker Terrell Suggs, tackle Marcus Gilbert, defensive tackle Corey Peters, defensive backs Josh Shaw, Rudy Ford and Deatrick Nichols, and linebackers Tanner Vallejo and Cameron Malveaux.
The top images from Cardinals training camp, which ended on Sunday