|The Cardinals' offense suffers a huge blow by losing Williams. (US Presswire)|
The Cardinals and their high-round running backs have had a mercurial relationship. The team's 2009 first-round pick, Beanie Wells, has battled injuries for most of his career, and 2011's second-rounder, Ryan Williams has followed a similar path. On Tuesday, coach Ken Whisenhunt said Williams will need surgery on the left shoulder that he injured in last Thursday's loss to the Rams. That's not all: Williams' season is over.
The injury happened in the fourth quarter, at the end of a 13-yard run when Williams collided with Rams safety Darian Stewart. The Cardinals running back lay motionless on the turf for several moments before making his way to the sidelines. At the time, it didn't appear to be serious; Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com wrote Williams seemed confused why "everyone thought it was a big deal."
"I'm straight," Williams told reporters.
Turns out, he was the opposite of that.
"It's a tough thing for Ryan. We didn't think after the game that was going to be the case," Whisenhunt said via ArizonaSports.com. "But in getting the tests done on it and talking with the doctor [Sunday], it's something that's going to require surgery. ...
"I feel horrible for Ryan, but what I told Ryan when we sat down was that at least this time he won't have to deal with it through an offseason," Whisenhunt continued. "He'll be able to go through the offseason program. He'll be able to go through practices."
Despite the lack of roster depth, a team source tells CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora that the Cardinals expect to stick with their running back group at this time, and were not immediately exploring trades or a free-agent signing. That said, the source did not rule out adding a veteran in the future. Tim Hightower, a former Cardinal back who was sent to Washington via trade, is one free agent running back still trying to get healthy.
There are more injury woes for Arizona, via CBSSports.com's Jon Gold: Offensive linemen Levi Brown and Jeremy Bridges, and tight ends Todd Heap and Jim Dray are all banged up and have missed time. And it's something that Whisenhunt can't expect the "next man up" philosophy to magically fix.
“No question. No question it affects us,” Whisenhunt said. “But all teams face those kinds of issues. We have to get through them. Hopefully we'll get some of those guys back before our next game.”
Unfortunately, Williams won't be one of those players.
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