While the Cardinals may be welcoming back one of their key veterans for Monday’s Wild Card game against the Rams, they will be missing their No. 1 receiver. DeAndre Hopkins is not ready to come back to game action yet, according to an update from Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams.
Hopkins was placed on IR in December after he suffered a torn MCL. That move, as expected, ended his regular season with an estimated recovery time of six weeks. While there was some hope he would be ready in time for Wild Card Weekend, the later stages of the playoffs were always the more realistic target for his return.
The 29-year-old’s second season in Arizona ended with a less than stellar stat line: 42 catches for 572 yards and eight touchdowns; the receptions and yardage totals are career lows thanks in large part to the fact he only played 10 games in 2021. Regardless of if he is able to come back at some point in the postseason, he is still under contract through 2024, with his cap hits scheduled to jump to $12.5MM next season and a maximum of $27.2MM in 2023.
The other injury news to keep an eye on is in relation to defensive end J.J. Watt. The 32-year old was designated to return from IR last week, opening the door to him returning in time for the playoffs. The news was surprising, given that the surgery he had to address a shoulder injury suffered in October was widely believed to have ended his season. Instead, he may be able to continue his inaugural season in the desert.
The Cardinals will finish the Wild Card round on Monday night when they visit the Rams.