During the first quarter of Thursday night’s game between the Cardinals and Packers, Arizona wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins aggravated the hamstring injury that had prevented him from practicing earlier in the week. It seemed as though Hopkins would be sidelined for the rest of the contest, as he sat out an extended stretch and was listed as questionable to return.
Well, that was the plan. Apparently Hopkins just didn’t agree with it.
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“We wanted him to stay off the field, but he’d just run on,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said after the Cardinals’ 24-21 loss, their first of the season. “He wants to play, super competitive and made some plays there, and we just want him to be smart. But he was definitely hurting.”
HOW MUCH DID DEANDRE HOPKINS PLAY VS. PACKERS?
Hopkins could be seen reaching down toward the back of his leg after catching a deep pass from Kyler Murray in the first quarter. He didn’t re-enter the game until the middle of the third quarter and played less than 15 total snaps, finishing with two catches for 66 yards.
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“He wants to be out there. He’s competitive as anybody I’ve been around, and he ended up making some plays,” Kingsbury said. “But we also have a lot of games left, so we’re trying to be smart with him.”
Arizona’s offense struggled without Hopkins, as Murray failed to throw a touchdown pass for only the second time this season. Kingsbury credited the rest of the team’s receiving corps for stepping up and keeping the Cardinals within striking distance, but he acknowledged that it is impossible to replace a player of Hopkins’ caliber.
“That’s a big part of our offense, having that guy,” Kingsbury said. “I thought Antoine Wesley stepped up, made a big fourth-down catch and did some good things. [Zach] Ertz obviously came on in the second half, and so guys stepped up. But if you don’t have DeAndre Hopkins, you’re not gonna be as potent as you could be on offense, obviously.”
ARIZONA CARDINALS UPCOMING SCHEDULE
Fortunately for Hopkins, he will get a few extra days of rest before the Cardinals travel to San Francisco to face the 49ers on Nov. 7. Arizona has three more games until its bye in Week 12, with all three games against teams currently under .500.
Cardinals upcoming schedule
Week Date Team Opp W-L
Week 9 Nov. 7 at 49ers 2-4
Week 10 Nov. 14 vs. Panthers 3-4
Week 11 Nov. 21 at Seahawks 2-5
Week 12 — BYE —
The Cardinals’ first game after their bye is Dec. 5 at Chicago before a huge “Monday Night Football” clash against the Rams, which could have major postseason implications.