TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson is the latest casualty for the beat-up Arizona Cardinals' defense.
Wilson will have season-ending surgery on his ailing right heel, the team said Wednesday.
He is the third Arizona defensive starter ruled out for the season in the last three weeks.
Cornerback Eric Green went out with a groin tear in the first half of Sunday's overtime loss to San Francisco. Defensive end Bertrand Berry went down with a torn right triceps against Detroit on Nov. 11.
Wilson's string of 59 consecutive starts ended two weeks ago at Cincinnati. He also sat out Sunday's game against San Francisco. That has given the Cardinals time to adjust to life without him, coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
``It's hard to replace a player of Adrian's caliber, but we have some guys we expect to step up and fill that role,'' Whisenhunt said. ``Adrian's been a workhorse. He's frustrated. We all are, but there's nothing we can do about that. We expect the next guy to step up.''
Oliver Celestin has started in Wilson's place. Antrel Rolle, a former first-round draft pick who lost his starting job in training camp, will move into Green's cornerback spot.
Two weeks ago, playing a roving fifth defensive back, Rolle intercepted three passes, returning two of them for touchdowns. He took the third pick back for a score, too, but it was called back by a dubious penalty.
Rolle will have to fight through grief when he starts Sunday against Cleveland. He was a friend since childhood with Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor, who died of a gunshot wound on Tuesday in Miami.
``We're counting on Antrel,'' Whisenhunt said. ``Certainly it's tough, and he has to fight through it, but he's got to be ready on Sunday.''
Arizona's top backup safety, Aaron Francisco, remains sidelined with a calf injury. That leaves Matt Ware and Ralph Brown to mix in with some of the team's five-defensive back packages.
On offense, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was limited in practice with a sore groin but said he would be fine. Quarterback Kurt Warner took part in the entire practice despite sore ribs to go with the torn ligament in his left (non-throwing) elbow.
Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said that injuries are just a poor excuse for a team that loses. He said every team loses players to injury, and it's up to those behind them to step up, even if they aren't as talented as those they replace.
No one is more talented than Wilson, Dockett said.
``Best safety in the league, if you ask me. But the season must go on,'' he said. ``Are we going to throw in the towel because we don't have Adrian Wilson? No. That means Darnell Dockett, that means Antonio Smith, that means Calvin Pace, Karlos Dansby have to step up their play to help the guy who's backing Adrian up.''

Recent NFL Discussions

ACC Conference Preview on Mon, Jul 2016 by Blade
Handicapping 2016 Win Totals on Mon, Jul 2016 by Blade
Big 12 Conference Betting Preview on Mon, Jul 2016 by Blade
2016 College Conference Previews on Sun, Jul 2016 by Blade
Advertisement

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Redskins 2016 Win Total Pick   After being the surprise winner of the NFC East in 2015, can the Washington Redskins find a way to have another big season in...
Thumbnail Bills Season Win Total Prediction Rex Ryan blew into Orchard Park last January with his patented bravado dialed up to 11, but all the swagger in the world couldn’t mask another disappointing...
Thumbnail Chicago Bears Win Total Picks The Chicago Bears find themselves in a competitive NFC North Division. Can they navigate the waters in 2016 to have a winning...
Thumbnail Rams Season Win Total Prediction Amid all the hullaballoo surrounding their move (back) to Los Angeles, the Rams actually lost some fairly significant pieces on the personnel side. Will a new man...
Thumbnail Dolphins Season Win Total Prediction With a new head coach and several fresh faces, will the Miami Dolphins win over or under 7 games in 2016?
More inNFL Articles  

NFL Team Pages