Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald breaks the huddle during 11-on-11 drills Monday after coming down awkwardly on a catch earlier in the workout.
Rod Graves was talking to team president Michael Bidwill during Monday's organized team activity when star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald provided a scary moment for everyone – Fitzgerald came down awkwardly after a catch, bending his right leg and knee the wrong way and leading Fitzgerald to yelp in pain.
Fitzgerald turned out to be OK, which allowed the Cardinals' general manager to chuckle later when relaying his immediate comments to Bidwill: "The only thing I said … (was) I was sorry I didn't beat (head athletic trainer) Tom Reed over there to evaluate him."
The humor was easier because Fitzgerald didn't have a real problem. But there's never anything funny about injuries, especially at a time of year when games are months away. But players can get hurt, even in the pads-less OTAs. One recent example was 49ers starting cornerback Walt Harris, who tore knee ligaments battling wide receiver Dominique Zeigler two weeks ago.
"You've got to look past it, man, or you won't be able to play at a high level," linebacker Karlos Dansby said. "That's the risk of playing this game, and it's a high risk. That's why we get paid so much, I guess. You've got to pray, man. God kept you out there this long, you have to hope he keeps you on the field. That's the way I look at it."
Coach Ken Whisenhunt said such things, like Fitzgerald's play, are simply going to happen. He also said the Cards have been lucky to avoid such problems and noted Fitzgerald finished practice.
"This time of year, there isn't that sort of urgency as it would be in-season because then you're immediately thinking of games and when will he be ready," Whisenhunt said. "Now (in June), you're just hoping it's not catastrophic where they have an extended period of missed time."
Catastrophic is what happened with Harris. It's also why Fitzgerald's play created a hold-the-breath moment.
"When he popped up I felt pretty good it wasn't anything major, but you felt better when he stepped back in the huddle a few plays later and you're thinking, 'OK, we're all good,' " quarterback Kurt Warner said. "Those things are scary. You just want to stay healthy this time of year."
For his part, Fitzgerald clearly didn't want to make a big deal about it. He walked past reporters without stopping, saying "I'm good. It was a little something. I'll be OK."
Dansby said while injuries are part of the game, it is definitely different to be hurt on the practice field than in a game.
"I've had my run-in with practice injuries," Dansby said. "That's a sickening feeling."
GRAVES ADDRESSES CONTRACT TALKS
As expected, wide receiver Anquan Boldin has indeed hired Tom Condon to replace Drew Rosenhaus as his agent. Graves said the team has "a history" of being able to work out deals with Condon and that he is looking forward to sitting down and discussing Boldin's contract issues.
But, Graves acknowledged, "without knowing their position or what they are looking for, it's hard to evaluate where we will be."
There is probably more reason for optimism on the extension negotiations with safety Adrian Wilson and linebacker Karlos Dansby. Graves said the team is "getting closer" to a deal with Wilson and said he thinks progress is being made with both players. Dansby must have an extension by July 15 or play 2009 under his one-year franchise offer.
Asked if he wanted to get the situations of all three players resolved by training camp, Graves said "I hope so," before adding, "One way or the other."
SPLITTING THE REPS
In training camp, the pecking order for practice repetitions is simple: The higher a player is on the depth chart, the more reps he gets.
But now, in the summer during OTAs, Whisenhunt said the formula does shift at least a little bit. Key players still get a prescribed number of reps but "you do try and get more of a look across the board at guys."
Coaches want to get a little of a longer look at their roster unknowns "but there comes a point where you have to work on the things you are going to use this year or the things you need to work on," Whisenhunt said. "There is a fine line there."
The Cardinals had virtually a full roster for the new week of voluntary work. The only veterans absent were Boldin, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett and defensive end Bertrand Berry. …
The Cards are scheduled to have four days of OTAs this week and next, practicing Monday through Thursday both weeks.
Contact Darren Urban at email@example.com. Posted 6/1/09.