Darnell Dockett's Availability for Thursday Night Football Is Looking Up

Tyson LanglandNFC West Lead WriterOctober 3, 2012

Oct 23, 2011; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (90) takes off his helmet in the second quarter of a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at University of Phoenix Stadium.  The Steelers won 32-20.  Mandatory Credit: Chris Morrison-US PRESSWIRE
Chris Morrison-US PRESSWIRE

The Arizona Cardinals' injury report is a lot longer than it normally would be two days before a game, but with a shortened week five days of recovery has turned into three. Even though we are only four games in, every player would take those two extra recovery days. 

Defensive end Darnell Dockett could probably use them the most right now. Dockett suffered a hamstring injury in the team's Week 3 victory over the Eagles. It's not like No. 90 to miss games. His absence against Miami was only the second game he has missed in 132 possible opportunities. 

The feeling was that he could have possibly played in a small capacity, but he wouldn't have been ready for Thursday night's matchup against the Rams if he did. Instead, Coach Whisenhunt decided to give him 10 days of rest in preparation for the nationally televised game. 

So, how is rehab of the hamstring going? According to his Twitter account, things are positive and he's getting healthier everyday. By the looks of it, the hyperbaric chamber has become his new home and Twitter is his new best friend.

On Tuesday night he was healthy enough to show off his pitching skills at the Arizona Diamondbacks game. Dockett, Calais Campbell and Patrick Peterson all threw out the first pitch and took in some late-season baseball. As the team prepares to take off for St. Louis tomorrow, there's no question he will be ready to go.

Even Kent Somers of AZCentral.com thinks Dockett will suit up for Thursday Night Football. Here's what he had to say in his blog post this evening:

"My guess is that Dockett plays at least a limited role."

There's no one that knows the team better than Somers, so it's safe to say he is onto something here.

The Cardinals do have some depth at defensive end with Nick Eason, Vonnie Holliday and David Carter, yet no one matches his level of play. So, those guys are more than capable in a pinch, but you don't want them filling in for more than a couple of games.

In the Pro Bowler's absence, Eason started and Carter came in when Ray Horton went to his nickel package. Their nickel package only features two down lineman, so a lot is asked out of them in terms of rushing the passer. Holliday mostly saw action when they were in their base defense. 

Every aspect of Arizona's defense takes a hit when Dockett is on the sidelines. Case in point, the pass rush lacked against Miami and if it wasn't for Campbell, the run defense would have suffered as well. As the Cardinals look to move to 5-0 for the first time since 1974, they will need all hands on deck.