"That's one thing that is encouraging," Whisenhunt said. "It's just going to be a matter of how his body responds to the rehab. So far, it's been very good."
Wilson, in a sometimes playful post-practice session with reporters Monday afternoon, wasn't making any promises, but he's targeting a return in time for the team's season opener Sept. 11 against the Carolina Panthers.
"I would love to be out there the first game. I would love to do that," Wilson said. "That would be great. I've got a roster bonus coming up. I've got some things that depend on that, so I'd love to be out there the first game."
The 31-year-old safety, who has played all 10 of his NFL seasons in Arizona, was injured during Saturday's scrimmage while attempting to tackle running back Beanie Wells. Wilson didn't even want to talk about the surgery option.
"No, no surgery," he said. "That's negative. I'm dealing with positives right now. That's a negative statement."
The Cardinals have re-signed safety Matt Ware to provide depth with Wilson out and also waived injured tackle Brad Thorson (foot).
Whisenhunt said he didn't know how long the Cardinals would give the rehab process before deciding if surgery would be necessary for Wilson.
"I can't say if it's a week, two weeks, three weeks. I can't tell you what that is," Whisenhunt said, "because I don't know. I know this. My No. 1 concern is the health of Adrian. I know he's a very tough player and he'd go out there with one arm if he could. So we have to obviously make sure that his body is healing correctly before we allow him to play."
Rashad Johnson, who's in his third season with Arizona, moves up to take Wilson's place on the depth chart.
"Listen, this business is all about the next guy being able to step in and play," Whisenhunt said. "Rashad's been here working very hard for a couple of years, and if he gets this opportunity, I wouldn't be surprised at all if he does a very good job with it."
Wilson immediately began rehab exercises, including work on the field while the team practiced, once an MRI exam showed the extent of the injury.
"As you saw today, he's going to work as much as he possibly can to get back as quickly as he can," Whisenhunt said. "I've learned in this business you can't ever rule somebody out or say for sure somebody's going to play. You've got to see how everybody responds differently."
Although he made the Pro Bowl, Wilson considered 2010 a sub-par season. While he wouldn't use it as an excuse, he was bothered by an abdominal injury much of the way.
"I can play hurt," Wilson said last week. "Regardless of what happens to me on the field, it's my responsibility to the team to be a leader, to be out there and show those young guys that even though you're hurt, you can still play through things like that. Really, that's my whole message."
A team captain, Wilson is the longest-serving member of the Cardinals. He endured years of losing before a stunning turnaround that led to the Super Bowl appearance in the 2008 season and an NFC West title the following year.
"I know what type of player that I am," Wilson said last week. "I know I'm a top-50 player in this league. So I'm just going to go out there and do my thing and let my play speak."
In another injury development, backup cornerback Michael Adams underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. No timetable was set for his return, either.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press