The Skinny: Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer is expected to be at the helm of the Cards’ offense this Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, according to ProFootball Talk. Palmer was diagnosed with a “sore right elbow” after taking a few hits to his throwing arm in Week 13. Palmer was allowed to rest on Wednesday and Thursday, practiced on a limited basis on Friday, and took all of the 1st team snaps during Saturday’s walk through. Palmer is officially listed as questionable.
The Injury: Palmer has a history of right elbow issues, suffering a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) a few years back. He opted to go the conservative route and avoid Tommy John surgery, which would have cost him at least a year. He did miss time going the conservative route, but much less than he would have missed had he undergone surgery.
Sprains and irritations of the UCL are tough to play with when talking about overhead athletes because so much strain is placed on this ligament every single time we throw a ball. The end of the cocking phase (when you reach back to prepare to deliver the ball) is when the most forces are placed on this ligament and could prove to be a challenge for Palmer during this Sunday’s game. He’ll undoubtably have instances where he won’t be able to put as much zip on the ball as he would like, but there’s no reason to believe this “soreness” is anything more than just that. If this injury was more of an actual sprain of the ligament (grade 2 or higher), I would have doubted he’d be able to do much of anything for a few weeks, let alone in the matter of a few days.
The Prognosis: The fact that he participated in the team’s walk through today is a good sign that he’ll be starting on Sunday. There’s no way to guarantee how effective he will be throwing the ball, especially down field to the likes of Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, but he should be able to make most 0-20 yard passes without much issue. Expect him to only be mildly limited on Sunday, but he should be close enough to full health to be effective.
For more information or other injury-related questions, you can find me on Twitter at @z_dahdul or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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