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Hopkins Won't Return for Playoff Game vs. Rams; Watt Might

The Arizona Cardinals won't have their top target to start the playoffs, head coach Kliff Kingsbury told Rams media.

The Arizona Cardinals will not have wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins back for Monday's playoff game against the Rams, head coach Kliff Kingsbury told the Los Angeles media on Wednesday. 

Hopkins has been on injured reserve since Dec. 18 with a knee injury that required surgery. 

There have been conflicting reports that suggest he could either return in late January if Arizona is still alive, or that he won't play again this season. 

Hopkins had only missed two games in his career before this year, but the All-Pro has been held to only 10 contests in 2021. 

"We have a good crew and they’ve done a lot of good things this year," Kingsbury told local media on Wednesday. "You can’t replace a guy like ‘Hop,’ particularly in the red zone, that shows in his production, and the way teams have to play you. I really like the group we have.”

The Cardinals have a lot of uncertainty when it comes to their weapons for Monday. 

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Wide receiver Rondale Moore and running back Chase Edmonds did not play last week due to injuries. Running back James Conner suffered a ribs injury in the fourth quarter of Arizona's Week 18 loss to Seattle. Conner and Edmonds are still day-to-day, per Kingsbury.

The Watt question

The Cardinals could be getting defensive end J.J. Watt back on Monday. He will practice with the team for the first time since suffering multiple injuries in his shoulder during Week 7. 

How he feels and looks at practice will determine the team's decision on his potential return. 

"I'm excited to get on the practice field and see how it feels," Watt told reporters on Wednesday. "I've been doing stuff on my own, been doing stuff with offensive linemen on the side but haven't been in the actual full-blown practice setting yet. 

"So I'm looking forward to that, looking forward to getting back out there with the guys and we'll make that decision as Monday comes closer."

Watt, who had surgery on Nov. 3, was designated to return from injured reserve last Friday.