It was a difficult, tumultuous week for the Cardinals, one that saw them lose their QB for the season and their GM take an indefinite, health-related absence. Add that to the tough loss against the Patriots and a recently fired assistant coach filing a request for arbitration, and there wasn't much good news for Arizona.
Now, the focus turns to the recovery and the future.
Sources say that quarterback Kyler Murray suffered a clean ACL tear, with no damage to other ligaments in his knee. The non-contact injury, which occurred early in the Cardinals' 27-13 loss last Monday, did have an associated meniscus tear that will be stitched up to keep the integrity of the knee. But the ACL tear was as clean as possible.
Murray faces a recovery that could take as little as eight-and-a-half months but potentially longer, and the Cardinals will likely place him on the team's physically unable to perform list to start training camp and then determine whether he'll be ready for the season. There is a chance, of course, that he's not ready and could begin the season on the PUP list, but those decisions will be for the future. If Murray starts the 2023 season on the PUP list, he would miss at least the first four games.
The plan now is for Murray to pre-hab for two or three weeks before surgery, which will allow the swelling to go down and attempt to maintain as much flexibility as possible. The hope is to have surgery at some point between Christmas and New Year's Day and work his way back.
With Murray out, Colt McCoy will start against the Broncos on Sunday, with Denver's quarterback Russell Wilson expected back next week after clearing the concussion protocol on Friday. The team held him out because of caution.
Meanwhile, assistant coach Sean Kugler hired a law firm to investigate allegations he called in a statement on Friday "mysterious" related to his allegedly touching a female security guard while in Mexico for Arizona's Week 11 game. The law firm, Shields Pettini, filed a request for arbitration with the NFL.
In defending himself in the filing, Kugler said he wants to clear his name and added, "Be it a miscommunication or mistaken identity" he will cooperate fully.
That led to online speculation from outlets such as Action Network and others that general manager Steve Keim was misidentified as Kugler.
However, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said there was absolutely no mistaken or uncertain identity in the Mexico City incident with Kugler. Kugler was clearly and positively identified -- including on hotel video and by eyewitnesses.
The Cardinals issued the following statement on Friday: "As an ongoing legal matter, we are going to refrain from comment other than to say that the team is confident the process will result in a much different set of facts than those presented today and that it had good cause to terminate Mr. Kugler's employment."