Tempe, AZ, United States (4E Sports) – The Arizona Cardinals lost rookie free safety Tyrann Mathieu for the rest of the season after he tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee during Sunday’s 30-10 win over the St. Louis Rams
According to sources, an MRI exam Monday confirmed Mathieu’s injuries. He will wait 10 days to allow the LCL to begin healing before he undergoes surgery to repair both ligaments. Recovery could take about nine months.
Mathieu suffered the injury with about nine minutes left in the third quarter on a free kick return after the Cardinals recorded a safety.
Mathieu got up and began jogging off the field when his left knee buckled and fell to the turf at University of Phoenix Stadium. He was carted to the locker room and did not return.
After falling to third round in April’s draft, Mathieu has emerged as one of the league’s top rookie defenders and a candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
During his postgame news conference Sunday, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said he thought Mathieu should win the award.
“To me, he’s a lock,” Arians said. “I don’t know if anybody else has played as much as he’s played and all the positions he’s played. I just wish that [Rams punter Johnny Hekker] kicked that damn ball to Patrick.”
Mathieu has 63 tackles — second best on the team — along with two interceptions and a forced fumble. He was named NFC Rookie of the Month in October.
Mathieu, who became a full-time starter in Week 4 against Tampa Bay, will be replaced in the lineup by safety Rashad Johnson.
Johnson was replaced by Mathieu replaced after the former lost the tip of his left middle finger in Week 3 at New Orleans.