Linebacker Deone Bucannon was not on the field when the Cardinals began their outdoor practice Friday morning, and he still wasn’t there during the portion of the workout that was open to reporters.
Cardinals coach Steve Wilks said Bucannon hyperextended his left knee and underwent an MRI Friday.
“I really don’t expect him to miss a long period of time,” Wilks said. “We just want to be cautious today and not put him right back out there.”
It was good news for Wilks and Bucannon. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted the “MRI showed all his ligaments, ACL and MCL and meniscus are all fine, per source. Cardinals will be cautious before they put him back on the field; could be a day, could be three, but Bucannon escaped serious injury.”
Bucannon appeared to hurt his left knee toward the end of practice on Thursday at University of Phoenix Stadium while defending wide receiver Brice Butler.
Sam Bradford threw a pass and Butler slid to make the grab as Bucannon closed. As Bucannon tried to avoid an unnecessary hit, he attempted to jump over Butler, but slammed his knee against the receiver’s helmet.
Bucannon held his knee for a short time and walked off the practice field as the rest of the team gathered for a post-practice stretch. He did not have a noticeable limp as he made his way to the locker room.
Afterward, defensive coordinator Al Holcomb said the injury wasn’t serious.
“He’s fine. He’s a tough player and I’m not worried about him,” Holcomb said. “He’s fine.”
While Holcomb turned out to be right about Bucannon, the injury was still a reminder of what can happen during training camp.
“I think any time one of your players goes down, it’s a scary feeling because of regardless of who it is, you don’t want to lose anybody,” Wilks said. “We’re doing some great things right now, but this is football. You’ve seen it throughout the league, unfortunately, the last few days, guys going down, so hopefully we can continue to stay healthy.”
The Heat Index
When the team began to warm up outside on Friday just after 8 a.m., it was 89 degrees in Glendale with 50% humidity.
“It was blazing, man,” wide receiver Chad Williams said. “It was a real hot day; one of those days where you have to take your mind further than your body can go. Real, real hot, you just gotta fight through those days like that.”
Williams said they were all ready to nap and that their cleats were soaked from sweat. After practice, most players took full advantage of the stools by their lockers; some even took advantage of the floor, laying down as they recuperated.
For center A.Q. Shipley, this wasn’t unusual.
“That’s my go-to,” he said. “My trainers laugh at me in the offseason. After every workout, I lay on the ground. It takes me like a good 15 minutes to re-gather my life. … (My) entire life, yeah. I contemplated it out there at times today.
“It was hot. I think guys are losing 10, 12, 14 pounds, but I think that’s what (Wilks) wants.”
Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks talks about what the team has done well during the outdoor practices.
Shipley was right — Wilks was looking for a hotter practice to up the intensity. The coach had mentioned earlier in the week that Tuesday’s practice wasn’t quite as hot as he would have liked. Friday’s temperature rose to his expectations.
“It was,” Wilks said. “And I told the guys, ‘I’m never going to lie to you: We had a good practice today, but we don’t want to allow ‘it’ to get in the way.’ ‘It’ was out there today. It was hot.”
Guard Evan Boehm was cramping after practice in the locker room and needed some assistance to get to athletic trainers. Still, players seemed to be in good spirits.
“Training camp will get ya,” left tackle D.J. Humphries sang as he circled around the locker room. “Camp’ll get ya.”
Reviewing with the refs
With referees from the league spending time with the team this week, players are taking advantage of their chance to ask questions about some of the new rules.
For linemen like Shipley, use of the helmet will be a hot topic.
“Just (looking for) some clarifications on some things. You guys will report that I have short arms, so obviously I lead with my head quite often,” Shipley said.
The updated rule states that “it is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent.”
Greg Moore and Bob McManaman talk about player injuries, practice in the heat and how that’ll all play out in the regular season.
Patrick Breen, Arizona Republic
Beyond the helmet rule, referees will keep parsing what exactly is a catch.
“We just want to clarify catch or no-catch things,” Williams said. “Like how many steps are you taking before the ball is batted out of your hands to be a fumble or an incomplete. Just little things like that.”
Still, Williams says the rule doesn’t confuse players too much when they’re playing.
“Not really,” he said. “Just catch the ball.”
Cardinals partner on fundraiser for fallen officer
The Cardinals will have an intra-squad scrimmage Saturday. Ahead of that, they’ll team up with the 100 Club of Arizona for a barbecue and a 50/50 raffle. The fundraising effort is in honor of fallen Arizona DPS Trooper Tyler Edenhofer for the benefit of his family, as well as in support of injured DPS Troopers Sean Rodecap and Dalin Dorris.
The barbecue will go from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. on the south lawn, with the Red and White Practice beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Also ahead of practice, team President Michael Bidwill and coach Wilks will address the crowd.
After practice on Saturday, the entire team will sign autographs along the lower field wall on both sidelines for a limited time. Guests with disabilities can contact stadium staff upon arrival for assistance with autographs. The Cardinals will be enforcing their clear-bag policy for Saturday’s training camp.