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Missed Time Has Been a Benefit

Notebook: Sitting players has paid off; Warner comes off injury report


After coming out late in the game in Tennessee, Cardinals tackle Mike Gandy sat out against Minnesota but should return against the 49ers.
Mike Gandy didn't practice last week because of his lingering pelvic injury.

The Cardinals' left tackle was back on the practice field Thursday – the first day of work for the team heading into Monday night's game against the 49ers – and practiced fully.

Gandy isn't a lock to start, coach Ken Whisenhunt said, but the veteran is expected to be active. Assuming that happens, Gandy will become the third high-profile player (along with Anquan Boldin and Kurt Warner) to skip a game and return at full strength the next week – making the brief time off look like a good decision each time.

"It's tough because you are talking about sitting down a good football player in a big game," Whisenhunt said. "It was not easy to not have Mike going up against the Minnesota Vikings. But what you have to have confidence in is the guys working hard to step into that role, that they will do it."

Boldin, who had been battling a bad ankle, sat out the game in Chicago. Since then, Boldin has 28 catches for 359 yards and three touchdowns in four games.  Boldin didn't want to sit out the Bears' game, but statistically, it seems to have been a smart move.

"If you look at his numbers it would appear to be that," Whisenhunt said. "He's certainly played very well since then. The one thing you always worry about is having to fight (nagging injuries) all year. When you have a chance to knock it out … it's been good."

Warner missed the Tennessee game with a concussion, and followed up against the Vikings with three touchdown passes and an NFC offensive player of the week award.

It doesn't hurt that Whisenhunt has trust in the reserves that are forced to play in those situations. Steve Breaston had five catches for 66 yards and a score in Chicago with Boldin out, Matt Leinart played a steady game in Tennessee and had the Cards in position to win, and Jeremy Bridges filled in nicely for Gandy against the Vikings as the Cards allowed zero sacks.

"I have said many times in front of our team, the mark of being a pro is a guy who can step in and be successful without having a lot of (practice) reps," Whisenhunt said. "That's why you get paid a lot of money in this league."


Running back Jason Wright (illness) was the only Cardinal not to practice Thursday. Warner is not on the injury report after taking a shot to his hip and he said he was "good." A handful of other players were limited: tight end Stephen Spach (knee), running  back Tim Hightower (thumb), defensive end Kenny Iwebema (thumb), fullback Dan Kreider (thigh), kicker Neil Rackers (right groin), punter Ben Graham (left groin) and defensive tackle Alan Branch (ankle).

For the 49ers, left tackle Joe Staley, who has been out since Nov. 1 with a knee injury, could return this week although coach Mike Singletary said he wasn't yet sure of Staley's status.


San Francisco coach Mike Singletary acknowledged he was surprised at how the game turned out between the Vikings and Cardinals, after the Cards dominated in a 30-17 victory.

"It was interesting," Singletary said. "I don't know what the Vikings were expecting."

Asked exactly what surprised him, Singletary said it had nothing to do with the Cards.

"I know the Cardinals," Singletary said. "I know the way they are coached, I know the way they play. I'm not sure if … just maybe the game plan Minnesota had. I don't know. I think Minnesota is a good football team. I think the Cardinals are a good football team. I think the Cardinals were very well prepared for the game."


Linebacker Karlos Dansby has also been removed from the injury list after spending the past few weeks there because of sore shoulders. Dansby didn't miss any playing time because of the injury, however, and that effort has been noticed.

"That's one of the things, as players mature in the league, they begin to understand," Whisenhunt said. "When I first got here, that was one of the things Karlos was working his way though. Part of being mentally tough is you have to play through injuries, you have to play through times when you don't feel good.

"He's taken off with a new position (as inside linebacker), but at that position, you're going to get banged up. The great ones are the ones who are out there every week and that's what Karlos has done for us."

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