Cardinals' Arians hopes to have QB Palmer back by July 1

BY Alex Marvez • November 18, 2014

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday he is hopeful quarterback Carson Palmer will receive a clean bill of health by July 1 after undergoing knee surgery earlier in the day.

Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio with co-host Bill Polian and me, Arians said Palmer had his left anterior cruciate ligament and a small cartilage tear repaired after the season-ending injury he suffered Nov. 9 during a 31-14 victory over St. Louis.

Palmer was enjoying one of the best seasons of his 12-year NFL career at the time of the injury, completing 62.9 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions. Palmer's performance earned him a three-year, $50 million contract extension that was signed two days before his injury.

Arians said that Palmer was optimistic he could return even earlier than the July 1 target date so that he could participate in the team's offseason workout program. Arians, though, made it clear that Palmer wouldn't be rushed back onto the field.

Drew Stanton has posted a 3-1 starting record in games replacing Palmer this season, including last Sunday's 14-6 victory over Detroit that lifted Arizona to a league-best 9-1 record. The Cardinals can take a big step toward clinching the NFC West by winning Sunday against the defending division champions in Seattle (6-4).

Arians also said rookie tight end Troy Niklas would be undergoing season-ending ankle surgery after reinjuring it Sunday against the Lions. A 2014 second-round pick, Niklas caught three passes for 38 yards this season. Journeyman tight end Matthew Mulligan was signed Tuesday to take Niklas' roster spot.