TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — More bad news for the Arizona Cardinals.
Lyle Sendlein, the team's ironman center, is out for the season with a torn left MCL, the latest in a series of injuries to significant players, problems that have figured greatly in the team's losing streak — now at seven games and counting.
"That's the way it's kind of gone this year," coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
The problems are especially acute on offense, where quarterback, running back and left tackle have been the hardest-hit positions.
Kevin Kolb, the quarterback when the team got off to a 4-0 start, has missed five games with a rib injury. He's practicing on a limited basis, but rookie Ryan Lindley will get his second start in a row when the team plays at the New York Jets on Sunday.
John Skelton beat out Kolb in the preseason but went down with a sprained ankle late in the season opener against Seattle. Kolb came on to direct the winning touchdown drive, and although he was far from perfect — and under constant siege from a fierce pass rush — the Cardinals started the season 4-0.
He was hurt on a busted play, when running back William Powell missed an audible and there was no one to give the ball to. Kolb took off running and went down hard on his chest, damaging cartilage on the upper part of his rib cage.
Whisenhunt won't say so, but he probably would go back to Kolb if he was sure the quarterback was healthy. Kolb said he isn't sure when he will be ready, and Whisenhunt isn't going to force the issue.
"He isn't going to get in the game until we are sure that he can take a hit," the coach said. "With what happened with him, you just have to make sure that he's cleared to do that."
Skelton replaced Kolb but was largely ineffective. When he missed several open receivers two games ago at Atlanta, particularly a wide open Larry Fitzgerald in the end zone, Skelton was benched in favor of Lindley. Lindley had some good moments in his first NFL start, but the awful moments were truly terrible. He was intercepted four times, three of them on bad throws, with two returned for touchdowns in a 31-17 home loss to St. Louis on Sunday.
Early in that game, Sendlein — called by Whisenhunt "one of the toughest guys I've ever been around" — limped off the field only to return to play the rest of the game on the damaged knee. He has started 80 games in a row since he got the job as an undrafted rookie in the team's 2008 Super Bowl season.
Now the job falls to Rich Ohrnberger, who saw little action in his first two NFL seasons, with New England, but has started twice this year at right guard for Arizona when Adam Snyder was hurt.
"As a backup guy you've got to be ready no matter what the circumstances," he said. "It's just another one of those situations where you get put in there and have got to keep the thing running."