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TEMPE, Ariz. With Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray’s high left ankle sprain heading into his sixth week, coach Kliff Kingsbury said on Friday that his quarterback’s status for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears will be a game-time decision, partly because of strategy and partly because of memory. of last year’s setbacks in the last nine games is still fresh in Kingsbury’s memory.
Murray “has been doing better this week,” said Kingsbury, who added that he hopes Murray will feel good on Sunday and “be ready to roll.” Murray has not played since spraining his ankle in the final moments of a Week 8 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
But being overly careful with Murray has been the plan all along.
“There’s obviously some cat and mouse in this sport, but I mean, with a player like him, the position we’re in, we’d be too careful all the time,” Kingsbury said. “And we still are, and so we want to be sure that when we get him back, he’s playing at a high level and he can not recreate it to a point where we lose him for a significant amount of time. “
Arizona enters Week 13 with a record of 9-2, the best in the NFL, and owns the No. 1 seed in the NFC and No. 1 spot in the NFC West.
Last year’s backlog in the late season, in which Arizona went 3-6 after starting 5-2, in part due to multiple injuries to Murray, has also played a factor in Kingsbury being ultra-cautious with Murray.
“I just think we’ll finish the right way this season and we did not last year,” Kingsbury said. “So we’re just trying to be smart about it.”
Kingsbury has not been surprised at how long it has taken Murray’s ankle to heal because high ankle sprains are “tricky. Everyone knows that.”
Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who has also been out for five weeks with a hamstring injury, will test their respective injuries before Sunday’s game at Soldier Field. Then a decision will be made about their status.
Hopkins was not on the field for the open part of training on Friday after being restricted on Wednesday and Thursday.
“We’re just smart,” Kingsbury said. “We want to make sure he feels really good for the stretch race and then we will see how he develops, run him on Sunday and see if he can walk.”
Hopkins said having the last two weeks off due to goodbye helped him “a lot.”
“Rest is the key,” he said.
Hopkins, who had missed two games in his entire career before missing the last three, does not think he will be rusty when he returns, and he is not worried that his hind thighs will react to him playing in full speed.
“I know what I can do out there when I’m healthy,” he said. “So go out there and do my best to help this team win.”