The Arizona Cardinals have been without RB Chase Edmonds for multiple weeks after he suffered an ankle injury in Week 9. Edmonds was injured on the Cardinals’ first offensive snap of the game. He wouldn’t return to that game and went on the injured reserve ahead of Arizona’s Week 10 matchup with Carolina. Let’s look at the timeline for Edmonds’ return and who the Cardinals have to step up in his place.
Update 12/09/21: NFL reporter Albert Breer is reporting that the Cardinals have designated RB Chase Edmonds to return from IR.
How long will Chase Edmonds’ injury keep him out?
An MRI in Week 10 revealed that Edmonds’ injury was a high ankle sprain. According to recoverypt.com, this injury can occur if the foot is rotated excessively against the lower leg or if there is a direct blow to the lower leg while the foot is planted. There are three grades of high ankle sprain: Grade I is a mild sprain, Grade III is more severe.
The positive news is that Edmonds’ injury did not require surgery. That decreases his potential recovery time by around 4-6 weeks. He is still expected to miss multiple weeks with the injury. Nonetheless, the hope is he will return ahead of the playoffs.
Chase Edmonds is eligible to return from the injured reserve in Week 14
Edmonds being placed on IR ahead of the Cardinals’ Week 10 matchup somewhat clarified the situation regarding his time frame for return. As a result of being placed on IR, Edmonds will be eligible to return to the Cardinals in Week 14.
A stint on IR must last a minimum of three games. The phrasing of games rather than weeks is key. If it were just three weeks, Edmonds would have been eligible to return in Week 13 ahead of the Cardinals’ game against the Bears. However, due to the Cardinals’ Week 12 bye, Edmonds has to wait until Arizona faces the Rams on Monday Night Football in Week 14 to be eligible for a return.
James Conner has led the Cardinals’ backfield in recent weeks
James Conner leads the Cardinals’ RBs in touches this season with 186. He has averaged 13.8 rush attempts and 1.8 targets per game. If we include the game Edmonds got injured, it is clear how much Conner has been the bell cow of this offense. In the Cardinals’ past four games, he has had 72 rush attempts and 17 targets.
It will be intriguing to see what the Cardinals do at RB now that Edmonds is eligible to return. Conner has been averaging 18 rush attempts and 4.25 targets in his absence. That is a significant increase in workload, especially targets. Of his 22 targets this season, 17 have come since Edmonds injury.
Behind Conner, Eno Benjamin has played the secondary role. In the past four games, he has had 23 rush attempts and 3 targets. His average during that time has been 5.75 rush attempts and 0.75 targets per game. While he has been filling a complementary role, his usage has been significantly below what Edmonds was seeing when healthy.
Ignoring Week 9, where he was injured on the first play of the game, Edmonds was averaging 9.5 rush attempts and 4.6 targets per game prior to his injury. It will be interesting to see what the Cardinals do this week and beyond. Do they activate him and use him as normal? Do they have him active and just ease him back in? Or do they keep him on IR until closer to the end of the season to ensure he is fully healthy?