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Arizona Cardinals expect Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins to play vs. Chicago Bears, sources say

Written by on December 4, 2021

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, listed as questionable for Sunday due to his lingering ankle injury, is expected to start vs. the Chicago Bears, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, also listed as questionable due to a hamstring issue, is likely to play vs. the Bears, as well. But the veteran could be used more sparingly than usual due to his injury and potential weather conditions, a source told Schefter.

In the week leading up to the Bears game, coach Kliff Kingsbury and the Cardinals took their familiar cautious approach to Murray’s status, considering his high left ankle sprain. On Friday, the coach said his quarterback’s status would be a game-time decision, in part because of strategy and in part because the memory of last year’s tailspin in the final nine games is still fresh in Kingsbury’s memory.

Murray was “better this week,” Kingsbury said, adding he’s hopeful that Murray will feel good and “be ready to roll.” Murray hasn’t played since spraining his ankle in the final moments of a Week 8 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Arizona heads into Week 13 with a 9-2 record, the best in the NFL, and owns the No. 1 seed in the NFC and first place in the NFC West.

Last year’s late-season tailspin, when Arizona went 3-6 after starting 5-2, in part because of multiple injuries to Murray, has also played a factor in Kingsbury being ultra-cautious with Murray.

“I just think we want to finish the right way this season and we didn’t last year,” Kingsbury said. “So, we’re just trying to be smart about it.”

Kingsbury hasn’t been surprised by how long Murray’s ankle has taken to heal because high ankle sprains are “tricky. Everybody knows that.”

Hopkins wasn’t on the field for the open portion of practice Friday after being limited Wednesday and Thursday.

“We’re just being smart,” Kingsbury said. “We want to make sure he feels really good for the stretch run, and so we’ll see how he progresses, run him on Sunday and see if he can go.”

Hopkins said having the last two weeks off because of the bye helped him “a lot.”

“Rest is key,” he said.

Hopkins, who had missed two games in his entire career before missing the last three, doesn’t think he’ll be rusty whenever he returns, and he isn’t concerned about his hamstring responding to him playing at 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.”

ESPN Staff Writer Josh Weinfuss contributed to this report.

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