The odds of Carson Palmer returning in time for what’s looking like a pivotal Thursday-night game aren’t looking good. The Cardinals plan to be “very, very careful” with their franchise quarterback, according to Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com (on Twitter), who does not put Palmer’s odds at suiting up against the 49ers as very good.
Palmer left Sunday’s game after being sacked by Aaron Donald and Eugene Sims during the fourth quarter of what turned out to be Arizona’s third loss this season. He’s in the concussion protocol, per Bruce Arians. The fourth-year Cardinals coach does not expect to play Palmer if he can’t practice this week, per Mike Jurecki of FoxSports 910 (via Twitter).
The defending NFC West champions are now two games behind both the Rams and Seahawks after being a surefire playoff pick by most experts. Arizona would turn to Drew Stanton, as they did after Palmer exited tonight, against San Francisco if their fourth-year starter can’t go.
Following the trip to the Bay Area, the Cardinals will return home in Week 6 to face the Jets in Monday-night tilt. Palmer played all 16 games for the Cardinals in 2013 and ’15 but missed more than half of 2014 due to his second ACL tear. The 36-year-old quarterback hasn’t gotten off to a splendid start, having thrown five interceptions and just one touchdown pass the past two weeks, but is coming off a standout showing in 2015 and represents the team’s best option.
Stanton re-signed with the Cardinals this offseason and led them to a 5-3 mark in eight starts in 2014. He only completed 55% of his passes that season and has never connected on more than 58% in his career.
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