Cardinals hoping for return of key players for 49ers game

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals finally got some good news on the injury front Wednesday, with indications that some and perhaps most of their injured players will be back for Sunday’s game against San Francisco.

The exception is guard Alex Boone, who has a pectoral injury and some reports have him sidelined three to four weeks. The Cardinals, though, had no official comment on the details of the injuries to Boone, who was signed after being released by Minnesota a month ago and was filling in for Mike Iupati at left guard.

“We’ll reevaluate him tomorrow after we put on pads and then see what happens,” coach Bruce Arians said.

Iupati, out for two games with a triceps injury, said Wednesday that he was “100 percent” certain he will play Sunday.

Like Iupati, left tackle D.J. Humphries was limited in practice. He hasn’t played since spraining a knee in the season opener.

Also listed as limited were John Brown (quadriceps), tight end Jermaine Gresham (ribs), tackle John Wetzel (bicep), outside linebacker Chandler Jones (chest) and wide receiver J.J. Nelson (hamstring).

Inside linebacker Deone Bucannon, who hasn’t played all season after a setback in his recovery from ankle surgery, participated fully in practice, indicating he is ready to make his season debut against the 49ers.

But Wednesday’s practice was essentially a walk-through.

“I’ll be more encouraged when we see them tomorrow (in pads),” Arians said. “The fact that they’re allowed to practice doesn’t mean they’ll be back in football shape. You know what I mean? You miss three weeks, and the game’s really fast, and this is one heck of a defensive line. Young, all first-round picks, and they’ll be a great challenge for us.”

If Humphries returns to left tackle and Iupati to left guard, the Cardinals will have the same personnel on the offensive line as they did to begin the season. But the majority of the problems have been on the right side of the line, where young guard Evan Boehm made some mistakes and tackle Jared Veldheer was beaten repeatedly by Demarcus Lawrence, who had three sacks in Arizona’s 28-17 loss to the Cowboys on Monday night.

Quarterback Carson Palmer vehemently came to Veldheer’s defense on Wednesday.

“I’ve got as much respect and trust in Jared as I’ve had in any offensive lineman I’ve ever played with, and I’ve played with Jared for six years,” Palmer said. “He was protecting my blind side for a long time, and now he’s on the other side.

“I talked to him today. You just bounce back, and I know he’ll bounce back. Like I said, I have a ton of respect, a ton of trust in him. The way he works, the way he prepares, I just know he’ll bounce back, and I have faith in him.”

Boehm said the offensive linemen are taking responsibility for the poor protection against the Cowboys and vowing to improve.

“After watching the film today and watching what happened on Monday, we’ve got to be better at our technique, we’ve got to be better physically up front,” Boehm said. “There were spurts in that game that we showed that we’re capable of doing it, but we have to do it for four whole quarters, not just the opening drive or a drive here and a drive there. It’s got to be every drive that we step out on the field.”