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Steve Keim: Jonathan Cooper has to understand how to manage playing in pain

Jonathan Cooper AP

The Cardinals drafted guard Jonathan Cooper seventh overall last season, but haven’t seen much return on that investment.

Cooper missed all of last season with a broken leg and eventually worked his way back onto the field this summer only to see a case of turf toe slow his progress. Now Cooper is running with the second team while Ted Larsen prepares to start at left guard, a situation that’s left Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim hoping that Cooper can figure out a way to play when he’s less than 100 percent physically.

“The guy had a tremendous career at North Carolina, and to my knowledge was never hurt or ever had a significant injury. So now this offseason, he’s had to deal not only with a significant lower-leg injury, now he has a significant turf-toe injury. Turf toes can be major issues,” Keim said, via the Arizona Republic. “I think it’s going to come down to the fact that he’s going to have to feel comfortable getting back on the field and, on top of that, a guy who has never been hurt is going to have to understand how to play and manage playing in pain. That’s going to be awkward for him, but the most time he is out here … he’s just going to have to get used to it. He understands that. It’s sad because we all have such high expectations. I’m disappointed in the injuries; I’m not disappointed in the player.”

It’s hard enough for young players to transition to the NFL when they’re totally healthy, which makes Cooper’s situation a doubly difficult one. He needs playing time to improve, but the injuries make it hard to give him that time and leave him right back at square one.

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14 Responses to “Steve Keim: Jonathan Cooper has to understand how to manage playing in pain”
  1. cardsfann1 says: Sep 1, 2014 10:45 AM

    It has been very frustrating so far with him. He had legitiment injuries. A broken leg and ligament damage in his foot. Not like one can call him a sissy but he was a 1st round pick at the same time. Want to see it pay off for what he costs.

  2. buffaloisadumpsterandtheirfansaremorons says: Sep 1, 2014 10:52 AM

    New he was a bust the second they took him. This team couldn’t draft a lineman to save their lives.

  3. jr4real says: Sep 1, 2014 11:01 AM

    Turf toe is extremely painful. Hard to plant. Ended Lambert’s career. Keim is a good GM but I’d rather play on a broken leg than turf toe. Of course that is if I could play!

  4. beardinals says: Sep 1, 2014 11:05 AM

    O line is officially upgraded and Ted Larson was a find. Depth is the real issue now.

  5. hyzers says: Sep 1, 2014 11:12 AM

    Just shoot him up with some Toradol coach, he’ll be good.

  6. footballfan72 says: Sep 1, 2014 11:14 AM

    I smell Dion turf toe

  7. themackstrong says: Sep 1, 2014 11:15 AM

    I watched two of my teams best lineman be sidelined a full year because of turf toe. If you don’t rest it, its said to be a constant struggle to deal with it the rest of the player’s career. Carl Nicks would be a good example of that I believe.

  8. jacobmcbride1 says: Sep 1, 2014 11:21 AM

    This guy went top ten and Larry Warford went in the third round, shows that even picking an offensive lineman isn’t safe

  9. The Steelers are Marching and the world cowers. The three rivers were made from your tears and we build boats. We build lots of boats. We walk beside pristine trophy cases and engraved gold. They say it's lonely at the top, but we sure like the view. says: Sep 1, 2014 11:24 AM

    Huge bust.

  10. The Steelers are Marching and the world cowers. The three rivers were made from your tears and we build boats. We build lots of boats. We walk beside pristine trophy cases and engraved gold. They say it's lonely at the top, but we sure like the view. says: Sep 1, 2014 11:39 AM

    Cards could’ve traded down and still got Jarvis Jones, who will prove, by far, to be the best player of the draft, or at least best defender.

  11. azcardsforlife says: Sep 1, 2014 12:15 PM

    Jarvis jones sucks

  12. coachbeck says: Sep 1, 2014 1:44 PM

    Man up!!!!

  13. greenbridge27 says: Sep 1, 2014 5:05 PM

    Steelers-

    Jarvis Jones the best defender in that draft? Tyrann Mathieu. 31 other GMs are wishing they drafted him. Including the Rooneys

  14. The Steelers are Marching and the world cowers. The three rivers were made from your tears and we build boats. We build lots of boats. We walk beside pristine trophy cases and engraved gold. They say it's lonely at the top, but we sure like the view. says: Sep 1, 2014 5:12 PM

    greenbridge27 says:
    Sep 1, 2014 5:05 PM
    Steelers-

    Jarvis Jones the best defender in that draft? Tyrann Mathieu. 31 other GMs are wishing they drafted him. Including the Rooneys
    __________________________________

    Can’t tell if you’re serious. The Steelers didn’t want anything to do with him, and no one else will either… after this season. You’ll see.

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