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Several Game-Day Decisions for Cardinals Monday Night

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury spoke with reporters on Saturday and gave updates on players battling injuries.

It's a different final practice of the week for the Arizona Cardinals, one where playoff implications are no more on the line.

The postseason is here, and head coach Kliff Kingsbury acknowledged that when speaking to reporters Saturday, when he said, "Definitely a different sense of urgency. There's no tomorrow if you don't get it done. There's no re-dos. There's no, 'Hey, we're already in the playoffs.' This is it and then throwing us a division opponent that we're very familiar with and had two really good games with. So yeah, there's been a lot of juice at practice."

Running back James Conner returned to practice Saturday after missing Thursday and Friday with a rib injury suffered in the loss against Seattle last week. 

"I'm not sure, he was able to do some things but we have to see (Monday) pregame what he feels like and take it from there," Kingsbury said about Conner. 

Conner, a key part of Arizona's rushing attack that keeps defenses balanced when game-planning for the Cardinals, figures to be a game-day decision Monday. 

The same could be assumed for guard Justin Pugh, who popped up on Friday's injury report with a calf injury, one that nagged him towards the end of the season, missing three games from Weeks 11-13.

While Kingsbury wouldn't say whether or not it was the same calf, he did state that he would be confident in whoever was needed to play at left guard against the likes of Aaron Donald.

"Obviously he's one of our starters and he's done a really nice job for us," kingsbury said. "So if he weren't able to go that would not be ideal, but we have other guys that have played at a high level whether it's (Sean) Harlow, Josh Jones played in there and done a nice job and one of those guys would have to step in and and get it done, but we'll know pregame before the game."

The sentiment was also expressed for wide receiver Rondale Moore, who was limited on both Thursday and Friday with an ankle injury.

Said Kingsbury, "Same deal. He'll be a pregame determination. We'd run him around out there before the game, see what he looks like, see if he can do what he does and take it from there. He's progressed the last couple of weeks, but we got to see what he feels like."

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The Cardinals have had some limited success with receiver Greg Dortch filling in during Moore's absence, should they need him.

Switching to defense, all eyes are on a potential return for defensive end J.J. Watt, who last played in a win against Houston on Oct. 24. 

Rehabbing from several different shoulder injuries, the hype around Watt playing has grown considerably after each day of practice this week. 

Kingsbury wants to pump the brakes on Watt's return.

"It's been great having him out there. You know, it's another thing (to where) we just got to get to Monday and see what his comfort level is and what he feels like and what we think he can he can do for us," said Kingsbury. 

"So we'll take it down to the wire with him. He's done everything humanly possible to put himself in this position. And I know if he has it his way he'll be out there, but we got to be smart, do the right thing and make sure it's right for all parties involved."

The Cardinals have struggled with keeping their secondary healthy throughout the season. Cornerbacks Marco Wilson (shoulder) and Antonio Hamilton (tooth) were limited in practice on Friday, while corner Robert Alford (pec) is on reserve/injured. 

"Yeah, (we are) healthier (at corner). Obviously, still don't have Rob Alford back. But Marco has been able to do some things in practice this week. KP (Kevin Peterson) being back has been good and Bashaud (Breeland) unfortunately was sick yesterday and so didn't practice but he was out there today and he's still getting acclimated in our system," said Kingsbury, who also wouldn't commit to whether or not Wilson could potentially return to his starting role.

"That remains to be seen. Marco, like I said, he hasn't practiced much up until this week and we progressed him back in and we'll see how he feels before the game. But we're hoping we can get him in some capacity and then Bashaud hasn't had many reps with with us when you're talking about our actual defense. I mean, he's done some scout-team work and things of that nature and been in meetings, but because he was sick yesterday, not sure how quickly we can get them caught up for this Monday."

Official game statuses for Monday night will come with the release of the final injury report later Saturday, yet Kingsbury made it clear numerous Cardinals will be questionable heading into his first playoff game as a head coach.