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Troy Niklas Trying To Get Healthy

Notes: Tight end needed after Carlson retirement; Peterson feels "rejuvenated"


Cardinals tight end Troy Niklas makes a catch in an OTA earlier this month.

Troy Niklas will have a brief surgery on his left ankle Thursday – so brief he won't even go under general anesthesia but just numb the area.

"It'll be cool to see my insides," the tight end said.

It may be regarded as minor but the removal of the mesh inside Niklas' ankle should help him going forward. It's kept the area tight since his initial surgery on the injury last season but has hampered his flexibility. And heading in an important training

camp for both him and the Cardinals, given the needs at tight end, Niklas needs to be ready.

"Troy still has a ways  to go," Arians said. "He's young, in his third year (playing) at the positon, can't stay healthy."

Niklas actually missed Wednesday's work after rolling his right ankle Tuesday. He admitted his frustration in his inability to be 100 percent, something he said he still hasn't really been as a Cardinal (He got a finger caught in a jersey early in last year's offseason work, breaking it and causing a problem deep into the preseason.)

Mentally, he's much further along, he said, but he'd like for his body to catch up.

"(The procedure) will help me a lot, getting into my stance, getting lower, being able to accelerate," Niklas said.

The Cardinals are figuring out where they are at tight end after John Carlson unexpectedly retired earlier in the offseason. Arians thinks Darren Fells is doing well, and while Ifeanyi Momah has looked like a very good pass catcher, the Cardinals need to see the former wide receiver in pads. Rookie Gerald Christian also could have a spot.

But Niklas, last year's second-round draft pick, is someone who should start if he does what he is supposed to do. That begins with being on the field.

"When you are out there and your wheel is not working right, everything is kind of compensating for that," he said.


Cornerback Patrick Peterson knows his 2014 season did not go as well as he had hoped, despite his Pro Bowl appearance. While

Arians has said many times Peterson played well down the stretch, he had a rough start and was beaten more often than he would have liked.

Some of that can be attributed to health issues, with Peterson dealing with a blood sugar problem that is now under control. He has looked good in OTAs and minicamp, knocking down a handful of passes Wednesday while battling the first-unit offense.

Arians said Peterson looks "much better." "His weight is down and under control and he's back to where he was athletically," Arians added. "I think it bothered him mentally not knowing what was going on (health-wise). He's got a smile on his face. And he looks like he's supposed to look."

Peterson said right now he wants to make sure he is physical prepared.

"I didn't like the way I played last year so I wanted to make sure it doesn't happen again," Peterson said. "I feel like 2011 Patrick. I feel rejuvenated."


Many of the Arizona State University football coaches were on hand to watch practice Wednesday, including head coach Todd Graham.

"Todd and his staff were out and they are always welcome here," Arians said. "Lot of the assistants have been here a bunch this spring. It's our home school."

Arians said the Cardinals' coaches have visited ASU practice as well in the past, studying tidbits from the Sun Devils' no-huddle offense.

Among those in the ASU contingent was former quarterback Taylor Kelly, who took part in the Cardinals' rookie minicamp last month on a tryout basis. Graham actually once was briefly a Cardinal himself, an undrafted rookie safety signed out of East Central University back in 1987. 

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