Following an extended weekend off during their bye week, the Arizona Cardinals returned to practice on Tuesday with some good news.
Coach Bruce Arians told reporters that Tyrann Mathieu is making a rapid recovery from a shoulder injury, which came as a surprise to Arians.
Mathieu was expected to miss three to six weeks after suffering a shoulder subluxation in the team’s Oct. 30 loss at Carolina, but it appears that the All-Pro defensive back may be ready to hit the field sooner than expected.
Arians told reporters that Mathieu is “real close” to a return, although he wasn’t sure if Mathieu would be ready to play as soon as Sunday’s home game against the San Francisco 49ers.
The injury opens the door for rookie Brandon Williams, who started the season as starting cornerback for Arizona before struggles sent him to the bench in favor of Marcus Cooper. Arians noted that he’s been impressed with Williams since losing the starting job, saying he’s “gotten better and better” while citing an interception Williams had in practice.
Mathieu is coming off a missed offseason due to knee surgery, and he inching toward returning to true form before the shoulder injury. The schedule gets tough following the 49ers game, with five of the remaining seven Cardinals games on the road, so getting Mathieu back will be important if the Cardinals (3-4-1) want to make the playoffs.