Even with knee injury, Larry Fitzgerald “can do everything”

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Larry Fitzgerald hasn’t missed a game in almost seven years.

“That’s a long time, hopefully that doesn’t come to an end,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald missed Wednesday and Thursday’s practices, as he’s dealing with an MCL sprain in his left knee. Head coach Bruce Arians said Fitzgerald is “iffy” for Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.

“He’s a little bit sorer than I thought he would be,” Arians said. “We knew he would be. Hopefully it’ll loosen up as the week goes on.”

Judging by Fitzgerald being out of the last two practices and seeing him walk gingerly to his locker when he sat to speak with the media, there’s cause for concern if you’re Arians and the Cardinals.

Fitzgerald doesn’t feel that way. To him, it’s not a huge deal if he doesn’t practice this week and shows up as DNP [Did Not Participate] on the injury reports.

“I know the game plan, there’s nothing different,” Fitzgerald said. “I haven’t actually run some of the plays, but there’s nothing different. Mentally, I know my sights, I know my hots, I’m very familiar with Seattle’s personnel and their schemes and everything like that, so I don’t think that would be the issue.”

During the open portion of practice on Thursday, Fitzgerald sat with long snapper Mike Leach near the practice bubble. Fitzgerald then made his way around the other side of the field and stood with linebacker Sam Acho and safeties Deone Bucannon and Rashad Johnson. Fitzgerald said he was able to get some rehab work in.

“Yeah, I did a little bit more than I did yesterday,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s [knee] feeling a little better. I have four days until we play, so I remain optimistic.”

Even though the injury reports say Fitzgerald is ‘limited,’ he doesn’t agree with that assessment.

“I can do everything,” Fitzgerald said.

There’s not really much Fitzgerald and the training staff can do at this point other than continue the rehab and see how the knee responds before Sunday.

“I just take it one week at a time and make sure I’m on the field ready to go every week,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s a rough game, it’s a rough business. You look around the league, you see every week somebody’s getting dinged up and banged around. It’s not like I haven’t played through a lot of different things.”

Fitzgerald is in his 11th year with the Cardinals. He’s no spring chicken, but the way he takes care of his body is second to none. Fitzgerald – like every other player in the NFL – has dealt with various injuries in different ways, but the way he overcomes an injury in his 11th year is no different than the way he dealt with the first injury he suffered when he came in the league.

“It’s the same, it’s no different,” Fitzgerald said. “Every injury is different, but your mentality and how you’re gonna attack it and your focus on how you’re gonna get back for your team is the exact same.”

With a three-game lead over the Seahawks heading into their clash, it would be easy for Arians to decide to shut Fitzgerald down and let him rest up and get more rehab so he’s ready for the remainder of the season and hopefully the playoffs. Fitzgerald doesn’t believe in that philosophy. To him, if he’s able to walk on the turf at CenturyLink Field on Sunday, then he’s going to play.

“Every game is important for us, we need to win every single game coming forward to be able to secure our playoff position and potential first-round bye, so every single game is important,” Fitzgerald said. “I don’t look at it [like], ‘You miss this game you can do this,’ that’s not how we look at it around here.”

Should Fitzgerald suit up on Sunday, he’ll have to help quarterback Drew Stanton deal with the deafening noise that the Seahawks fans bring.

“We’ll help him along: ‘Drew, throw it over here to me that’s all,’ I’ll whisper it in his ear,” Fitzgerald said. “We work with loud noise every single road game so we’re prepared. If we have to use our silent count we have that ability to.”

“The best, most efficient way to keep a crowd quiet is get off to an early lead, and sustain drives, get first downs and capitalize when we get in the red zone,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s a sure fire way to keep a building quiet, so hopefully we can do that.”




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