The Arizona Cardinals take on the Los Angeles Rams in the first round of the NFL Playoffs on Monday night. Given the way the fortunes of both teams have turned in recent weeks, the Cardinals were hoping for some good news in the form of a return by wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. However, head coach Kliff Kingsbury confirmed on Wednesday that the veteran wideout will not be ready to go following knee surgery and will miss the game.
Kliff Kingsbury confirms to LA media that WR DeAndre Hopkins will not be ready to return from knee surgery vs the Rams, but the Cardinals hope to get JJ Watt into practice this week to see whether he could return Monday night.
— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) January 12, 2022
Hopkins is still in recovery mode from knee surgery resulting from an injury he sustained in Arizona’s Week 14 loss to the Rams. The team has certainly missed his production as he caught 42 passes for 572 yards and eight touchdowns in 10 games.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals lost four of their last five games, dropping from a contender for the top seed in the NFC to the fifth seed, behind the NFC West division-winning LA Rams. After starting the season 7-1, the Cardinals ended up 11-5, stumbling into the playoffs.
We’ll see if the Cardinals, who are hopeful to get defensive star J.J. Watt back for the game, can make good on their early-season promise or if they simply ran out of gas at the worst time. Without Hopkins, Christian Kirk and A.J. Green will continue to try to pick up the slack for Arizona.