GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Cardinals received good news Friday: Nose tackle Dan Williams has only a sprained MCL and a sprained ankle.
“ACL, that’s the first thing that came to my mind,” said Williams, who had his leg rolled up on during a pile-up in a drill Thursday in Tempe. “You always fear the worst, but then you hope for the best.”
Williams limped to a cart after the injury and was taken to the locker room. He had an MRI, and the results came back Friday, showing no structural damage.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said the knee should take three to four days to heal but the ankle sprain will likely take longer, although Arians emphasized that it is not a high ankle sprain, which generally requires more time to heal than a regular ankle sprain.
“We’re just going to take it one day at a time and see how it goes,” Williams said of his healing and rehab process.
The Cardinals’ first-round pick in 2010 (26th overall) missed the final six games of the 2011 season after suffering a broken arm in a game at San Francisco. He has had some weight issues in the past, but Arians said he had taken care of those and addressed concerns about his performance in camp.
“He has been playing at a Pro Bowl level in this camp,” Arians said. “He came in light, he’s been having a great camp running to the ball, putting pressure up the middle of the pocket. I would expect this (injury) not to set him back very much.”
Williams is expected to start between ends Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett, with David Carter serving as his backup. This is considered an important season for Williams, who has made some progress but hasn’t yet lived up to his draft status.
In addition to plugging holes and occupying blockers, Williams is being asked to get upfield more this season to wreak havoc in the backfield.
MASSIE’S PROBLEMS ALL MENTAL
Arians was asked what sort of camp right tackle Bobby Massie is having.
“So-so,” Arian said. “Good effort. His biggest problem has been mental errors.”
Arians said those errors are why Massie is now behind recently signed tackle Eric Winston in the competition for the starting job.
Added Winston, “There’s only so many spots in this league, and you have to come in and fight for one. I never came into this camp thinking that it was going to be handed to me, but I feel like I’ve picked up the offense well enough to be in there.”
Winston said the Cardinals’ gap scheme is vastly different from what he’s done before in the NFL.
Arians said one of the worst scenarios as a coach is when he cuts the roster down to the requisite 53 men and players think they have made the final roster only to be replaced by somebody the team later plucks from the waiver wire.
“They went from the ultimate high to the ultimate low in 24 hours,” Arians said.
So what should fringe players who make the 53-man roster be thinking?
“Make me not want anybody on the waiver wire,” Arians said.
Arians caused a stir when he announced that there would be no tackling of any kind at Saturday’s annual Red and White Scrimmage. The Cardinals may modify that a bit for goal-line situations, which normally produce some of the most spirited play of training camp, but Arians is a firm believer in preserving his players’ health through camp.
Linebacker Karlos Dansby has a hamstring issue that kept him out of Thursday’s practice. Defensive end/linebacker Alex Okafor has an ankle sprain, and Arians didn’t know if Okafor would practice Friday.
None of the previously injured players were scheduled to return on Friday. Defensive tackle/end Darnell Dockett was also excused from Friday’s practice and Saturday’s Red and White practice for personal reasons.