When rookie guard Jonathan Cooper broke his leg in the preseason game between the Arizona Cardinals and San Diego Chargers, head coach Bruce Arians spoke of how the team would wait for him to come back.
The team changed its mind on Friday, when they placed him on season-ending injured reserve, rather than the injured reserve that allows one play to return to the active roster.
Why the change in heart? Arians explained it to the media on Friday.
"I don't think it's fair to our football team in case we get somebody who can come back sooner if there is another injury, so we felt like we needed to keep that spot open," he said. "As much as we wanted to get Jon back, the chances of him coming back and getting in football shape weren't as realistic as we had hoped for."
Tight end Jeff King's knee injury and surgery perhaps contributed to the decision. The position has not gotten much production in the preseason and King might be able to bolster it. Arians said that, despite not knowing anything about King's surgery results, using the slot on IR that can return is a possibility.
Cooper now gets the equivalent of a medical redshirt. He can get completely healed and come back for next offseason. However, he will not benefit from game reps his first season.
I don't think there was a wrong answer here. Playing in a few late season games would have been good for him, and he would have been able to give the leg a real test and a chance to strengthen it with game reps.