Cardinals QB Kolb targeting return vs. Rams

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb went through a substantial practice for the first time since his foot injury three weeks ago and said he is "absolutely" optimistic he will be able to play Sunday at St. Louis.

Kolb, who said he took 35 to 40 percent of the first-team reps in Wednesday's workout along with about half of the scout team reps, has been frustrated by his slow recovery from a right turf toe and bruise on the side of the same foot. He was injured in the Cardinals' 30-27 loss at Baltimore on Oct. 30.

"I'm anxious to get out there tomorrow," he said. "Today is like Christmas."

Backup John Skelton started in wins over St. Louis and Philadelphia, but struggled mightily in a 23-7 loss at San Francisco this past Sunday.

The second-year pro from Fordham completed 6 of 19 passes for 99 yards and was intercepted three times before being benched in the fourth quarter in favor of Rich Bartel, whose 23-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald with 2 1/2 minutes left was the Cardinals' only score.

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said the decision on whether Kolb starts against the Rams will depend largely, but not entirely, on how his foot responds to the increased practice.

"There's a lot of things you've got to consider into that," Whisenhunt said. "He hasn't played in a couple of weeks so you've got to make sure that he's comfortable with the plan and that he's ready to operate. That's what this week's for."

Kolb had been listed as limited in practice last week but was working on the side with trainers on the injury. Wednesday, he said, marked the first time he was back in the thick of things with his teammates. He said the pain has greatly diminished but not disappeared.

"There's always going to be pain there," he said. "It's just fighting through it at this point. Pushing and planting is not a big deal. The plays everybody has concern about is the plays you don't expect and having to adjust on the fly, you know, 100 mph, which we all know happens during an NFL football game."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.

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