Running back Jonathan Dwyer is prepared if starter Andre Ellington's foot injury causes him to miss any time.
Andre Ellington sat out practice Thursday with a foot injury. Beyond that, there is a lot of speculation but little concrete about the status of the Cardinals' top running back heading into Monday night's game against San Diego.
Coach Bruce Arians was not scheduled to speak with the media again until Friday, and Ellington was unavailable. Offensive coordinator Harold
Goodwin declined to talk about Ellington's injury situation, saying only that the team's general philosophy is "next man up. Whoever is in there is in there. We'll see who's out there on Monday. But next man up."
If the Cardinals are missing Ellington – and some reports say he could miss extended time – Jonathan Dwyer figures to get the start, with Stepfan Taylor and Robert Hughes likely to get more work than normal. The Cardinals also have rookie Dominique Williams on the practice squad if they wanted to elevate him to the active roster.
Dwyer had six starts in Pittsburgh back in 2012, when he averaged 4.7 yards a carry with 391 yards on 84 attempts.
"I've been through this situation before," Dwyer said. "The standard is the standard. It's unfortunate that he as an injury now. We know he'll be back. We don't know when but all of us are prepared."
Ellington not only was going to be the top running back but was also going to be used a lot in the passing game. The latter should not be impacted as much if Ellington is out, given the Cardinals' depth at wide receiver and the similar quickness of wide receiver John Brown.
But none of the other running backs on the roster have the burst or the ability for explosive plays like Ellington.
"These are NFL players," Goodwin said. "They better be ready to play no matter what. Everybody has qualities and things they can do and we'll take advantage of that. Right now, it is what it is."
Arians and his staff will push ahead. It was the same message when Daryl Washington was suspended, and the same when Darnell Dockett got hurt.
"That's the attitude of the whole team," Taylor said. "We don't know the details yet, but I know all of us in that running back room are prepared to take that number one spot. If things do happen, we will be ready."
THE REST OF THE INJURY REPORT
Aside from Ellington, the only Cardinal not to practice fully was linebacker Alex Okafor (thigh), who has been out all week.
For the Chargers, safety Jahleel Addae (hamstring) and cornerback Chris Davis (ankle) both sat out. Defensive end Lawrence Guy (shoulder), defensive tackle Sean Lissemore (ankle) and linebacker Manti Te'o (foot) were limited.
CHARGERS GAME SELLS OUT
Monday night's game between the Cardinals and Chargers is officially a sellout, the 86th straight Cardinals game to sell out at University of Phoenix Stadium. The game will be televised locally, both on ESPN and KTVK (Ch. 3).