QB Kyler Murray should be 'good to go' when Arizona Cardinals take on San Francisco 49ers in Week 9

ByJosh Weinfuss ESPN logo
Thursday, November 4, 2021
ESPN

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Neither Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury nor Kyler Murray believes the quarterback will need to practice this week in order to be prepared to play Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers as Murray continues to heal from a left ankle sprain.

Murray, who said his ankle feels "good," didn't practice Wednesday after five days of rest following the Cardinals' 24-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night, spending the time rehabbing inside the building with trainers, who are "putting him through the ringer trying to get him ready," Kingsbury said.

"I think I'll be good to go on Sunday if I just know the game plan and get the mental reps," Murray added.

Kingsbury wouldn't have felt comfortable letting Murray play without a week of practice earlier in his career but said he does now because Murray has a better understanding of the Cardinals' system and has better pieces around him.

"He is the type of player with his ability and understanding of the system now, as long as he's getting the mental reps, we feel good about him going out there and executing, " said Kingsbury, who added that Murray will likely be a game-time decision.

All eyes were on Murray's ankle when he walked into his news conference Wednesday. He asked one reporter why he was looking at Murray's feet. Murray's left ankle did not appear swollen, and Murray looked to be walking without issue. The extra time off this week was beneficial, Murray said.

He injured the ankle on Arizona's last offensive play of the game, when he threw an interception in the end zone that sealed the Cardinals' first loss. He limped off the field and was seen wearing a walking boot as he left the stadium. "I hadn't really had any rest at all since the season started, so to get those days, it's definitely helpful," Murray said.

He added: "Just taking it one day at a time, not really putting anything on it."

Should Murray not play Sunday, he said it'll be a collaborative decision between him and Kingsbury.

"But," Murray said, "that's not the case."

Kingsbury joked that it's not a talk he wants to have with the ultra-competitive Murray. "You want to have that conversation with him?" Kingsbury said.

How would it go?

"Not good," Kingsbury said. "Not good for me."

Kingsbury, however, said it's a fine line between protecting Murray and potentially helping the team's long-term future this season, and letting him play if he's capable of it.

"Seventeen-game season, you've got to be smart," Kingsbury said. "We've got some big games coming up. We'll do what's best for the organization and for what's best for him."

Murray feels this year's Cardinals are better equipped than the teams in his first two seasons to play either without a fully healthy Murray or without him on the field.

If Murray plays but is limited, he doesn't think that affects Arizona's offense or his ability to run and scramble. However, in an optimistic sign, the quarterback said if he needed to protect himself by evading pressure with his feet, he feels good enough to do that.

"I don't need to run," Murray said. "If I have to, I have to, but at the same time, there's difference between running and protecting yourself. You can't just be a sitting duck in the pocket. So, we'll take it one day at a time."

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