Bruce Arians: Tyrann Mathieu's ACL tear is 'clean'

The Arizona Cardinals have reason to believe the recovery from Tyrann Mathieu's second ACL injury will proceed on a faster track than his initial reconstructive knee surgery two years ago.

Mathieu's 2013 injury was more severe and included an additional LCL tear, whereas the current tear is "clean," coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday, via Darren Urban of the team's official website.

Arians hopes Mathieu will be ready for offseason OTAs just as Carson Palmer was last offseason after tearing his ACL in November. Considering the nature of the injuries, it's a reasonable comparison.

When the quarterback first shredded his knee back in January of 2006, doctors deemed it a "four" on a "scale of one to three." When Palmer tore his ACL for the second time, it was a clean tear -- or a "one" on the doctors' scale.

Sporting a brace on his right knee, Mathieu was well enough Wednesday to take the field, assisting secondary coaches Nick Rapone and Kevin Ross while offering encouragement for teammates.

Although Mathieu's versatility, instincts and playmaking ability are unrivaled among defensive backs, the Cardinals have proven they can win without him. When Mathieu was limited coming off knee rehab last season, Arizona jumped out to a 9-1 start before Palmer went down with the season-ending injury.

"Three different guys could (replace Mathieu) in different packages," Arians explained. "You miss the passion and the energy, but football-wise, we've got enough capable hands of replacing him."

As beloved as Mathieu is in the locker room, his loss won't deter the Cardinals' single-minded pursuit of the Super Bowl while dedicating the season to No. 32.

"We miss him already with his energy and his spirit," veteran defensive tackle Cory Redding said, via Urban. "God has blessed him with unbelievable talent and he can't hide it. He displays it every week on the field.

"That being said, we don't have that. So come in here, get on this train, we need you to learn this thing as fast as you can so we can go out on Sunday, turn it on, keep rolling and not even blink. People are going to think he's still there because we'll still be making plays."

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