Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  By Craig Morgan  |  Last updated 8/22/14
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- You don't need more reasons to be concerned about the Arizona Cardinals now that the defense has lost Karlos Dansby, Daryl Washington and Darnell Dockett. But the health of left guard Jonathan Cooper and inside linebacker Kevin Minter warrants some worry. Neither player practiced on Friday. While coach Bruce Arians said both would be game-time decisions on Sunday, it's pretty clear neither will play against the Cincinnati Bengals. Minter is still nursing a pectoral muscle injury that, given the time he's missed, is likely a tear. Cooper is still nursing a turf toe injury and the affected ligament doesn't seem to be responding to treatment and rest. Arians said Kenny Demens and Ted Larsen will start in their place, but when asked how confident he was that Minter and Cooper would be able to contribute in the season-opener, Arians qualified his response. "(Minter's) got to contribute next week. Same thing (with Cooper)," he said. "They've got to get some game action before we'll stick them out there on the opener. It's a critical week for both those guys for the opener." Larsen will stay at left guard if Cooper isn't ready for the season opener. While he has had a good camp and proven his worth as a backup at all three interior positions, Larsen is undersized (listed at 6-2, 305). That could be a problem, particularly against the NFC West's big, physical defensive tackles. If Minter can't go, it would be a surprise if Demens remains in the starting spot. The Cardinals may just be waiting for recently-signed veteran Desmond Bishop to get up to speed. MATHIEU CROSSES ANOTHER HURDLE Safety Tyrann Mathieu was much more active in Thursday's practice than he was on Wednesday when he returned to the field for the first time after being removed from the Pup (physically unable to perform) list. He participated in 11-on-11 drills (mostly on the scout team) and delivered hits to receiver Ted Ginn and running back Andre Ellington. "I wasn't really trying to hit them but I put a little weight on," he said, sheepishly. "Actually, I thought (Arians) was going to throw me out of practice. He usually doesn't let people hit Andre. Luckily, I was able to stay." Mathieu admitted that it helped his confidence to lay a couple hits. He also said the big brace he is wearing (and will wear all season) is not restrictive, but it is taking time to adjust to having such a large object on his leg. Mathieu said the normal recovery time for his torn LCL and ACL is 11 to 12 months, so it surprised him that he is back on the field 8.5 months later. "I thought he moved around better (Thursday) than he did the day before, mostly on the scout team where he could stay out of the fray but play football and run," Arians said. "He broke on a couple deep balls really, really well." INJURY UPDATE Tackle Max Starks (ankle) was limited on Friday. Arians is hopeful he'll be available for the Sunday's game. QUICK HITTERS -- Arians said linebacker John Abraham, who reported to camp one week ago, has a chance to play on Sunday. -- Arians will decide Saturday if Mathieu and nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu will get any time Sunday. -- Arians said offensive lineman Bradley Sowell has made good progress the last two weeks, but he still appears to be a long shot to make the team. -- Carson Palmer will play most of the first half on Sunday, if not all. Drew Stanton will start the second half of come in a little earlier and Logan Thomas will play the fourth quarter, Arians said. Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter
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