Palmer exploring myriad treatment options for shoulder

Carson Palmer missed Sunday's game against the Giants and is expected to be a game-time decision this week against the 49ers.

Kathy Willens

TEMPE, Ariz. — The bruised nerve in Carson Palmer’s right shoulder has improved to the point where he is doing some throwing. But Palmer still receives all sorts of treatment in hopes of playing Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.

"All the classic things: stim(ulus) and ice, acupuncture, dry needling," he said Wednesday. "I’ve gotten a ton of second opinions but I’m very confident in our group. I don’t feel like I have to go to other doctors."

Palmer confirmed he injured the shoulder when he tried to take on San Diego safety Eric Weddle along the sidelines in the season-opener. Early last week, he wasn’t even able to lift the arm all the way, but he said it has improved significantly since then.

Coach Bruce Arians said Palmer’s availability would be in question right up until warmups before Sunday’s game at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The NFL and NFLPA on Wednesday announced a new drug policy, which alters acceptable levels of certain drugs while addressing other issues. 

The new policy allows some players — among them Denver receiver Wes Welker, Dallas defensive back Orlando Scandrick and St. Louis receiver Stedman Bailey — to cut short previous suspensions and return to the field this weekend. Changes to the NFL’s substance-abuse policy also could reduce Cleveland receiver Josh Gordon’s season-long ban.

But the new policy will not impact Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington, who was suspended for the season after missing a drug test this offseason. Washington was suspended four games last season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. 

Details of Washington’s violations were not made public so it is impossible to say why he did not qualify for a reduction in penalty, nonetheless that is the end result. The Cardinals still must face the season without him, and will face more time without him — assuming he remains with the team after this season — when the NFL hands down punishment for his guilty plea to assaulting his ex-girlfriend. 

Arians said outside linebacker John Abraham did not pass his baseline concussion test on Tuesday. He will take another test Thursday, the soonest he is allowed. If he passes, he is expected to return to the field immediately.

Abraham suffered a concussion in the season-opener, left the team briefly to ponder retirement, then returned this week.

Ted Ginn was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after returning a punt 71 yards for the game-winning touchdown in Sunday’s 25-14 win over the Giants.

That was all well and good, and Ginn was happy about the impact of that play.

"Getting a punt return last week, it gave our special teams more confidence," he said. "It just shows what we have as a whole."

But one day earlier, his coach issued him a challenge regarding kickoffs returns. 

"He’ll get one more opportunity and hit it up in there like I’ve seen him do it," Arians said.

Ginn said he was unaware that Arians had set such a deadline, but Ginn is averaging just 15.4 yards on five returns this season, which ranks 38th in the NFL. He also put the Cardinals in some poor field position, partly because of poor blocking, partly because of poor decisions on returning kicks that carried deep into the end zone.

"It was a little bit of both. I could have hit a couple more than what I did but you’re not going to make a big play out of all of them," Ginn said before listing the things he evaluates on kickoff returns. "You’ve got hang time, you’ve got distance; if it’s a line drive. There’s a lot of things that go into that. You’ve just got to get the most out of it when you do take it out."

— The Cardinals made a couple roster moves to adjust for punter Dave Zastudil’s health and to open a roster spot for Abraham. Arizona released linebacker Marcus Benard and punter Drew Butler, and signed outside linebacker Victor Butler, a 2009 fourth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys.

— Linebacker Alex Okafor (thigh), running back Andre Ellington (foot) and defensive end Frostee Rucker (calf) missed practice on Wednesday. 

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