MONDAY, 1:24pm: Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians confirmed today that Palmer did indeed tear his ACL, and isn’t expected back until next summer, tweets Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. There’s no additional damage, but Palmer likely won’t have surgery for a couple weeks, as he waits for the swelling to subside, tweets Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. The veteran signal-caller figures to land on IR this week.
SUNDAY, 6:53pm: Just two days after finalizing a lucrative three-year contract extension with the team, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer left today’s game on a cart with what appeared to be a serious knee injury. According to Albert Breer and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links), the club fears that Palmer suffered a torn ACL, which would end his season. The veteran signal-caller will undergo tests to confirm the diagnosis.
The timing of the injury is especially unfortunate for the Cardinals, who reportedly committed about $20MM in guaranteed money to Palmer this week, and have Super Bowl aspirations this season. In today’s game against the Rams, backup quarterback Drew Stanton and the Arizona defense combined for three fourth quarter touchdowns to seal a 31-14 victory, but if Stanton is forced to assume the starting job for the rest of the season, it figures to adversely affect the team’s chances of making a deep playoff run.
Palmer, who will turn 35 next month, had posted a 99.3 quarterback rating in five games entering today, throwing 11 touchdown passes to just two interceptions. He’d also won all five contests he’d started this year, helping to lead the Cardinals to a league-best 7-1 record, a mark they improved to 8-1 today.
For the former first overall pick, this injury appears reminiscent of one he suffered back in January 2006, during his first playoff game with the Bengals. That 2006 injury, which included an ACL tear among other ligament, cartilage, and knee damage, was viewed as potentially career-ending at the time. However, even though Palmer suffered today’s injury to that same left knee, it would be a new tear, since his previous graft will have healed during the last eight years, tweets Dr. David J. Chao.
We’ll know more details on the severity of the injury and the recovery timetable when tests are completed and the Cardinals make an announcement.