Arizona Cardinals star defensive end Darnell Dockett was carted off the field today at practice with a right knee injury, and the Cards have promptly sent him off for an MRI after he had trouble putting weight on it. An injury to a star player is always a cause for concern, especially when it appears to be a significant knee injury. The Cards are already hoping that Kevin Minter and Tyrann Mathieu will be ready to start in Week 1, as Minter is a key starter at ILB with Daryl Washington suspended and Karlos Dansby gone, and Mathieu is already one of the best defensive backs in the game.
Unfortunately, it looks like Dockett is a lock to miss the first week of the season, and it looks like he’ll miss a whole lot more time than that; perhaps the entire 2014 campaign. Per sources close to FOX Sports’s Mike Garafolo, the Cardinals believe that Dockett has torn his ACL, and this would obviously be a season-ending injury for the 33-year-old Florida State product.
Dockett isn’t nearly as good as his reputation states, but he’s still an important player up front for the Cardinals and is capable of dominating on any given play. Consistency is the issue for Dockett, as talent, strength, and explosiveness aren’t. In 2015, we’ll have to see how much of that last quality he has following a torn ACL at that age, but he’s a very tough player and should still be effective. Calais Campbell is an elite 3-4 DE, so the Cardinals should be fine up front. Still, this kind of blow is huge given the competition the Cardinals face in the NFC West, as they lost a valuable piece in what is an arms race on defense, particularly given the quality and depth on the defensive line that the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks possess. Although it hasn’t been confirmed that he has a torn ACL, reports of teams “believing” that an injury has occurred usually come true.