Set to miss a fourth game in five weeks because of a nagging shoulder injury, Tyrann Mathieu could be bound for the operating table again.
The Cardinals are contemplating surgery for their dynamic fourth-year defensive back, Bruce Arians said (via Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic). A subluxation that is restricting Mathieu’s range of motion and the loss of strength in the shoulder hovers at the root of this issue. The league’s highest-paid safety has dealt with this problem since Week 8.
Arians did not think another surgery for the Honey Badger would be necessary yet, but the All-Pro defender who has already undergone two operations to repair ACL tears as an NFLer will miss the most games in any of his four seasons this year due to a less severe but clearly troubling ailment. The torn ACLs in each knee, along with this latest shoulder impediment, prompted a reporter to ask Arians if he’s concerned about one of his cornerstone players venturing down a Bob Sanders-esque path.
“Totally different players; maybe the same injury history,” Arians said. “But Bob was a box guy that would just knock your socks off all the time. His body couldn’t take his bravado. He was one of the best that has ever been. Ty plays the game a different way. His [injuries] have just been bad luck.”
Mathieu returned for the Cardinals’ Week 12 date against the Falcons, notching five tackles and his season’s first sack, but did not play last week against the Redskins.
The 24-year-old Mathieu signed a five-year, $62.5MM extension in August but could be in danger of missing the remainder of the season if the Cardinals opt to play it safe as their season careens further away from playoff contention. Arizona’s mediocre defense of its NFC West title leaves the team 1.5 games back of the second NFC wild-card spot, and if the Cards drift out of contention, it makes little sense to put Mathieu back out there when the current concern surrounding his condition is reinjury.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.