By Danny Cox
When it comes to the playoffs, the Conference Championship Games may be the most important of them all. Yes, winning the Super Bowl is of utmost importance, but unless you prove you're the best team in the AFC or NFC, then you won't even make it to the biggest football game of the year.
The Arizona Cardinals are heading into Sunday's game with an injury report that is quite short, and that is a very good thing. The only problem is that out of the seven names on the list, all of them are important, and four of them are on the defensive side of the ball.
With an explosive and dangerous offense like Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, that's not a good thing. Still, all players are going to play and no-one is listed as less than probable.
On offense, Carson Palmer is still dealing with a finger injury on his right hand that has been bothering him for a while. He practiced in full all week though, and is good to go. Wide receiver John Brown also has a shoulder injury that limited him for two days of practice this week, but he was a full go on Friday and will play.
One of the biggest offensive concerns is that of running back David Johnson, who has a toe injury. He was limited on Wednesday and Thursday as well, but a full-go on Friday, so he'll be playing on Sunday. His injury raised a lot of concern as Chris Johnson has been practicing, but can't return to play in a game yet and won't this season unless the Cardinals reach the Super Bowl.
Defensively, there are a few more names listed, but nothing seems overly serious. Defensive tackles Frostee Rucker (ankle) and Josh Mauro (calf) were limited throughout the week, but will be ready for Sunday. The same can be said for linebacker Markus Golden (knee) and cornerback Justin Bethel (ankle) who were a full-go in practice on Friday.
The Cardinals have a few lingering injuries that will be watched carefully and checked throughout the entire game against the Panthers. You can bet though that if team doctors say they can play, the players will be out there and they'll all be needed to get a berth in Super Bowl 50.
Carson Palmer, QB (finger)
Markus Golden, LB (knee)
Justin Bethel, CB (ankle)
John Brown, WR (shoulder)
David Johnson, RB (toe)
Josh Mauro, DT (calf)
Frostee Rucker, DT (ankle)
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
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