Guard Jonathan Cooper, who got hurt later in this game against the Chargers, could return later this season from a broken leg.
There was already a comparison Bruce Arians could make with Jonathan Cooper, from just last year: Steelers guard David DeCastro.
Like Cooper, who fractured his left fibula Saturday night against the Chargers and underwent successful surgery to repair it Sunday, DeCastro suffered a bad injury -- torn ligaments in his knee -- during the preseason. Eventually, DeCastro returned last year to play in four games. That's still the hope for Cooper.
Arians said the best case scenario for a Cooper return is 10 to 12 weeks. That, Arians said, could get Cooper back with as many
as six games to go.
The Cardinals' coach said the team will hold off determining which injured reserve list upon which to place Cooper – one ends his season, the other, with one spot per team, allows a player to come back after eight weeks – until the end of the preseason.
In theory, though, Cooper can come back. Because, like DeCastro, "we don't want (Cooper) to be a rookie next year," Arians said. "That's a big thing if you lose him for the whole season, he's a rookie again next year. We believe now that won't be the case."
Arians said he had yet to talk to Cooper since his operation. Daryn Colledge will move from right guard to left guard. Paul Fanaika, Colledge's backup, will move to starting right guard.
INJURY LIST ISN'T AS SCARY
The Cardinals had a ton of injuries against the Chargers. But other than tight end Rob Housler, who has a high ankle sprain, there is optimism the players will come back by the regular-season opener.
Arians called "day-to-day" or "fine," a group that included DT Dan Williams (ankle), RB Rashard Mendenhall (knee sprain), TE D.C. Jefferson (knee), LB Matt Shaughnessy (ankle) and WR Andre Roberts (quad). Jefferson is going to try to play in Thursday's game, an important one for the rookie seventh-rounder.
Housler, Arians said, is going to try and come back for the Rams. His status seems a bit more murky but "he's a pretty fast healer," Arians added. Arians did not sound concerned with Mendenhall.
TE Jeff King, who has been dealing with knee issues, practiced Monday.
RYAN WILLIAMS TO GET WORK
Arians said running back Ryan Williams will get the majority of the carries Thursday against the Broncos. Williams got into his first action of the preseason against the Chargers, carrying twice and making a reception in eight offensive plays. Monday's practice was only Williams' fifth of the preseason.
But Williams said he came out of the game in good shape and encouraged.
"Since I injured my knee (in 2011), that's the best I've felt on the field," Williams said. "I wasn't hesitant to cut off my right leg, I wasn't hesitant to run up in there or get contact. I was getting hit and I wasn't thinking about grabbing my knee or protecting my knee. I was thinking about protecting the ball."
Williams said he'll embrace the chance to play more.
"To be able to show the world what I can do," Williams said. "We'll see how that goes."
Arians would not comment on a published report the Cardinals were "shopping" Williams for a trade. Arians said he is "blessed" with four good backs behind the injured Mendenhall.
PERHAPS NO PALMER
The starters will play against Denver, but not much, Arians said. The one caveat to that, Arians said, is that quarterback Carson Palmer may not play. That will be determined later in the week. Palmer said he is "very comfortable" going to play the season-opener in St. Louis if he doesn't play another snap of preseason.
"To be honest I don't think about (playing Thursday) at all," Palmer said. "We are only talking about Denver (as prep) a little. I'm already focusing on St. Louis, with a lot of my preparation for third downs and things like that. If your number gets called (in Denver) it gets called. But it's not my decision."