The Arizona Cardinals are on the East Coast and still prepared to play Sunday against the New York Jets as planned, following some brief uncertainty Friday.
The Jets had a presumptive positive COVID-19 test Friday morning. Jets players and coaches were sent home to prepare virtually for the game, as the team followed league protocols for isolation, repeat testing and contact tracing.
“This evening, we received negative PCR COVID-19 test results for all players, coaches and personnel,” the Jets said in a statement Friday. “…We look forward to our game this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.”
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Well before the Jets got back the results from the follow-up round of testing, the Cardinals were operating as if their game would not be affected.
“As now, it’s business as usual,” coach Kliff Kingsbury said Friday after practice. “We’re heading out today and getting ready to play on Sunday until told otherwise.”
Kingsbury said practice went well, and tackle D.J. Humphries said Friday that the news had not affected players or their preparation. They recognized that any changes would be outside their control.
“Whatever happens, happens,” Humphries said. “We still have to play a game, so we’re preparing for the game to go on Sunday. If it changes, it changes. But if not, we’ll be ready to go on Sunday.”
Still, players and coaches surely saw the news pop up on phone screens and on television tickers around the facility in the hours before practice. Even if it did not seep into practice or preparation, it was a reminder of just how precarious this season is. For safety Budda Baker, that has amplified a pre-existing “one day at a time” mentality.
“I have a tattoo on my shoulder that says ‘Each day is not promised,’ ” Baker said Friday. “Right now, we’re here, we’re practicing, we’re working with each other. And that’s all we can think about.”
The exact start time or day of the game was less important to the 2-2 Cardinals than whatever the result will be. But they knew a final score can’t come until after kickoff.
“I think this week particularly, all of us want to get back on the field,” Kingsbury said. “There was frustration with how we played last week, so we’ve been chomping at the bit to get back after it. So when you hear that initially, you’re like, ‘Oh no, we really want to get back out there.’ And then you settle in and realize, hey, you can control what you can control.”
Safety Budda Baker was a full participant in practice all week, following a “great surgery” on his thumb, where “everything went as planned.”
Baker will wear a cast for the game, which he acknowledged is “definitely restrictive.” He’s not sure how long he’ll need the cast, and he’s not overly worried about lingering effects on his ability to tackle.
“I’ve got four other fingers,” he said Friday.
He made adjustments against the Lions, playing through the injury for that game and finishing with eight tackles. Baker missed the next game against Carolina, but he said the midseason surgery was needed for the long term.
“If you don’t get surgery within time, that ligament shrivels up, and it would be hard to bend my thumb again,” he said.
LB Devon Kennard (calf) has been ruled out after Kingsbury said Friday that it “doesn’t look like he’ll be quite ready this week.”
Kingsbury said DL Jordan Phillips “is gonna make the trip and kind of a day-to-day deal, as of right now.” Phillips (illness), S Chris Banjo (hamstring) and TE Darrell Daniels (thigh) are questionable. CB Dre Kirkpatrick (calf) was a full participant in Friday’s practice after he was limited earlier in the week.
For the Jets, QB Sam Darnold (right shoulder) was ruled out. OL Mekhi Becton (shoulder) and WR Breshad Perriman (ankle) are doubtful.
CB Bless Austin (calf), LB Jordan Jenkins (shoulder/calf), S Ashtyn Davis (groin), DL John Franklin-Myers (foot) and WR Chris Hogan (ribs/knees) are all questionable.
Some day my prince (might) come
General Manager Steve Keim said on a radio appearance on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM on Friday that the Cardinals were still looking into veteran cornerback Prince Amukamara.
“It gives us an opportunity to see if he’s healthy,” Keim said Friday on the Doug & Wolf Show. “Prince was a guy we actually took a look at in the springtime and talked at length about him. I’m not sure why, but I think Prince changed his mind and decided he wanted to play this year.
“He’s kind of a hometown kid that could potentially be a guy that could help us, so we’ll see. No guarantees, but he has a history of playing some good football in New York and Chicago. We liked what we saw on tape.”
Bob McManaman contributed to this report.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: ‘It’s business as usual’: Arizona Cardinals Week 5 NFL game against New York Jets still on