Cards WR Fitzgerald has sprained knee (AP)

Aug 16th, 2010 | By sportsnews | Category: Sports

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP)—The Arizona Cardinals are promising to proceed with all
caution in their treatment of Larry Fitzgerald’s(notes) sprained right knee.

That could mean the four-time Pro Bowl receiver won’t play again this
preseason.

Fitzgerald watched practice on Monday in a leg brace. Afterward, he
downplayed the injury “a minor setback” but wouldn’t set any time for his
return.

“I don’t set timetables,” he said. “I’m just going to do everything they
ask me to do, plus some, and hopefully that’s going to get me back as fast as
possible.”

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said that while the team will take a conservative
approach, he fully expects Fitzgerald to be back for the season opener at St.
Louis on Sept. 12.

Fitzgerald sprained his MCL when he was hit in his only reception Saturday
night in a 19-16 preseason win over Houston. He caught the 16-yard pass from
Matt Leinart(notes) over the middle but took a nasty hit from safety Eugene Wilson(notes).
Fitzgerald stayed in for another series before leaving the game for good.

He said any lost time in training camp is significant.

“I’m playing a position that’s predicated on timing,” Fitzgerald said. You
know we have a new quarterback. I need to be out there with him every day, not
just on Sunday. I need to be out there Monday through Saturday working with him
every single day to build our continuity. So any time you miss as a receiver is
not good.”

Fitzgerald enters his seventh NFL season widely recognized as one of the
best receivers in the game with 523 career receptions for 7,067 yards and 59
touchdowns. Last year, at 26, he surpassed Randy Moss(notes) as the youngest player in
league history to top 7,000 yards receiving. In six postseason games, Fitzgerald
has 42 catches for 705 yards and nine scores. He has topped 1,000 yards
receiving each of the last three seasons and four times in his career.

He has been remarkably durable.

Counting the playoffs, Fitzgerald has played in 47 consecutive games and has
missed only four—out of 102—in his career.

Fitzgerald acknowledged this sprain is worse than the one that knocked him
out of the team’s loss at San Francisco last Dec. 14. He came back six days
later to catch a touchdown pass in a victory at Detroit that clinched the
Cardinals’ second straight NFC West title.

Fitzgerald worked out regularly in the summer with Leinart, who has replaced
the retired Kurt Warner(notes), and had said he was having the best training camp of
his career.

“That’s the thing that’s most frustrating,” he said. “You put in so much
time in the offseason. You work so hard to get your body in shape, then
something like this happens and you kind of take a couple of steps back. It
really makes you count your blessings and think about how fortunate you are.”

With Fitzgerald’s longtime receiving mate Anquan Boldin(notes) traded to Baltimore,
Steve Breaston(notes) will fill the No. 1 receiver spot. Until Fitzgerald returns,
Early Doucet(notes) moves up to No. 2. Doucet sat out Monday’s practice to rest sore
abdominal muscles.

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