Cardinals injured players focused on getting healthy

2/10/14 in NFL   |   Mia781   |   953 respect

FanIQ | Sports Rumors, Gossip, Blogs, News & Discussion ForumsThe Arizona Cardinals lost several key players to season-ending injuries this past season. By Week 3 the Cardinals had lost offensive guard Jonathan Cooper as well as linebackers Alex Okafor, Sam Acho and Lorenzo Alexander to season-ending injuries. Later on, safety Tyrann Mathieu and defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu also joined the gang to finish the 2013 season on the injured reserve.
But with the offseason still young, most of the Cardinals’ injured players already seem on track with their rehabilitation. At this point in the offseason, few were present at the Cardinals’ training facility to witness the team’s injured players rehabilitate (with the exception of Alexander who was working out away from the facility in coordination with head athletic trainer Tom Reed) this past week. But even with the little attention that they seem to be getting, there’s no doubt that these players are regaining their health with each passing day.
Okafor suggested that he should be back full health in four-to-six weeks. The team’s 2013 fourth-round pick was shut down for most of his rookie season after suffering a torn bicep in September.
“My time here is almost up,” Okafor said earlier this week. “I’m excited to get out there and start doing football-type things again.”
Hanging around in Tampa to get some work done has also proven well for Cooper, who indicated he’s also ‘getting closer to full strength.’
“With this, I get my rehab, and since I’m here I’m guaranteed to get a lift in and some running, too,” said Cooper. “It’s good to stay in shape and stay around football.”
The 2013 first-round pick is on track to be ready for his target date around the spring OTAs. A projected starter for the Cardinals to begin last season, Cooper did not play a single game during 2013 after suffering a broken leg in August.
“It’s going very well,” Cooper updated on his rehab. “I feel like I’m turning the corner. They’re starting to cut me loose on the lower-body stuff, a little bit of agility. The straight-line stuff, that’s pretty good to go for the most part. I’m in a good spot and we still have plenty of time left.”
With the Super Bowl XLIX to be held at the University of Phoenix Stadium next playoffs, the Cardinals have additional motivation to return to full-form and are hoping for a big year in 2014. Having teammates who have similar dreams and who suffered similar injuries only helps the injured players to push each other towards maximum efficiency. This especially holds true for Cooper and Acho, who both suffered broken legs, with their injury dates just a few weeks apart.
“We spend a lot of time together… I’ll see him outside running, and I’ll stop to see how his running is looking,” said Cooper. “Or I’ll see him do some plyometrics. It’ll be, ‘OK, I’m not there yet,’ or, ‘I’m trying to compete with him.’ It really is a motivational factor.”
While Ta’amu, who tore his ACL in Week 17, is still on crutches and has months of rehab ahead of him, he too is finding that having someone who shares pain can prove helpful.
“It’s just nice knowing you’re not the only one hurt,” Ta’amu said.
Meanwhile,  the arguably the most notable of Cardinals’ injured players, Mathieu, is able to walk but only with the aid of a knee brace and has no timetable for recovery at the moment.
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