Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald preps his jersey before practice Thursday.
Once upon a time, Larry Fitzgerald got some in-game advice from a fellow wide receiver who was injured and not playing. It was some unwanted in-game advice.
"You just think, 'He's not playing, why is he talking to me?' " Fitzgerald said. "It's so crazy. I was telling (receivers) coach (Darryl) Drake this, 'When you are in the huddle, in the game, you're playing, you're preparing to play, you feel like you're completely in it. But when you are on the sideline, you're not even close to being in it.
"You're either in or totally out."
Fitzgerald passed on saying what player that advice might have come from, but it went to his bigger point – as he missed the past two
games, he didn't do any coaching on the sidelines. He was, in his mind, "totally out." Now, after practicing twice this week, Fitzgerald is on track to play against the Chiefs Sunday – although he remained officially limited both days.
Fitzgerald said with a grin he was "highly likely" to play, although he knew he said the same thing last week when it turned out that he did not play as he rehabbed from his knee sprain. This time, Fitzgerald the oddsmaker is probably closer to the mark.
Sitting out "kills you," Fitzgerald said. The past two games haven't been all that great for the Cardinals either, as they have lost twice and struggled mightily on offense – which may or may not be coincidence.
"Larry brings a ton of passion and he's also a big playmaker," coach Bruce Arians said. "He'll probably catch a couple of those high balls (that haven't been caught).
"The passion and energy, and an all-pro player, that's hard to replace."
Fitzgerald shrugged off the idea he might bring an absent intangible to the Cardinals.
"This team has proven all year they can win despite the lineups, who is in there, who isn't in there," Fitzgerald said. "It's a resilient ballclub and we have shown that. We have hit some adversity over the last two weeks but what football team doesn't?"
If anything, at least Fitzgerald can give pointers to teammates again. He can be more vocal "because those guys know I'm in the fight with them."
"Like I said, I had guys talking to me who weren't playing, and who couldn't execute the job even if they were playing," Fitzgerald said with a smile. "I let those guys play (the last two weeks). Hopefully I don't have to be in that role again."
VELDHEER RETURNS TO WORK; FOOTE SITS WITH A FOOT ISSUE
After sitting out practice Wednesday, left tackle Jared Veldheer (ankle) was back on the practice field on a limited basis Thursday. The same can't be said for right guard Paul Fanaika (ankle), who remained sidelined along with running back Andre Ellington (hip) and defensive tackle
Ed Stinson (toe).
But the Cardinals also didn't have linebacker Larry Foote Thursday after he was added to the injury report with a foot problem. That could be an issue that bears watching. Foote has played all but one defensive snap this season, and that came at the end of the Falcons' game last weekend.
Linebackers Lorenzo Alexander (knee) remained limited. Linebacker Kenny Demens (hamstring) was upgraded to full practice.
For the Chiefs, defensive end Allen Bailey and wide receiver Junior Hemingway were still sidelined as they recover from concussions. Guard Mike McGlynn (quad) was upgraded to limited, while wide receiver Donnie Avery (groin), tight end Anthony Fasano (knee) and linebacker Tamba Hali (knee) remained limited.
ADDING BACK A BIG PIECE WITH SHAUGHNESSY
After missing eight games with a knee injury, linebacker Matt Shaughnessy will play for the first time Sunday against the Chiefs. Arians and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles have both said Shaughnessy's playing time will likely be monitored at first. That makes sense with the way the Cardinals have played fairly well with Alex Okafor and Sam Acho at outside linebacker.
"I don't think we missed it that much up until last week, and that wasn't really an edge problem," Arians said. "But Matt is one of our best edge defenders and pass rushers."
One plus from Shaughnessy's stint on the injured reserve/designated to return list is that he will have had three weeks of practice before playing. Shaughnessy got back on the field the Wednesday after the Detroit game.
"I say it helps you get back into the feeling of football, movement and contact," Shaughnessy said. "Doesn't really help in terms of learning because I was (practicing) on scout team the whole time. But I mean, I still remember most of the stuff. It just takes a couple of practices to get back in the swing."
As of now, Shaughnessy remains on IR. For him to play Sunday, he still must be moved to the active roster, which means the Cardinals will have to release a player before then.
CARDS-CHIEFS OFFICIALLY A SELLOUT
The game Sunday was called a sellout Thursday, the 92nd straight sellout for the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The game will be aired locally on CBS. The broadcast team is Greg Gumbel and Trent Green.
Images of past matchups against this week's opponent, Kansas City