After an impressive rookie season in which he gained over 1,000 in combined yards, running back Andre Ellington is set for an expanded role with the Arizona Cardinals. However, there’s bad news coming out of Phoenix after Ellington left Thursday’s practice with a left foot injury.
Nicks and bruises happen all of the time in practice, however, this appears to be much more than that. Fox reporter Mike Jurecki tweeted the following about the potential severity of Ellington’s injury:
Update; Andre Ellington aggravated his left foot in practice on Thursday, underwent an MRI, hearing he could be out extended period of time.
Ex-Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt was always hesitant to give Ellington a larger role, instead opting to give the plodding Rashard Mendenhall a good amount of carries too. And he had good reason for doing so, considering Ellington’s history with injuries. The 5’9″, 199-pound runner was hurt quite often at Clemson. And this left foot injury is said to be an aggravation of a previous problem.
Assuming Ellington is out for an extended period of time, Arizona would turn to Jonathan Dwyer. The highlight for this four-year veteran was when he rushed for 623 yards on 156 carries (4.0 YPC). But he never truly managed to grab a featured role in Pittsburgh.
Expect Stepfan Taylor to also get some carries if Ellington is out. The Stanford product, who gained 115 yards on 36 carries as a rookie, would be the change-of-pace back. Of course, with such few carries, he’s still relatively inexperienced during meaningful regular season action.
The Cardinals are certainly hoping that Ellington won’t be out for much time. Given the lack of experienced starting backs, more pressure would be put on Carson Palmer and the passing game. Palmer already threw 576 times last year and was sacked a career-high 41 times. With Ellington out, both of these numbers will likely be in the same range in 2014.