Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker expects to make a full recovery from a frightening head injury suffered Monday night in the team's playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Baker was immobilized and carted off the field in the third quarter following a collision with Rams running back Cam Akers, and the team announced he'd been ruled out with a concussion. Although he moved his hand before leaving the field, there was clear concern for his well-being among both teams as he was carted away. Baker, however, offered a smile and some encouraging words via social media.
"Thank you for all the well wishes and the prayers from everyone," Baker said Tuesday in a video posted to his Instagram account. "I appreciate you guys. Everything came out clean. I'm going to make a full recovery, so definitely blessed. I'm excited to get out of this hospital and get back to Arizona. I haven't been able to shower, I stink still, and just ready to get back home and be with my family. Love you guys, appreciate all y'all always sending love."
Baker was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Monday night and was alert with movement in his extremities, according to the team's medical staff. The team said Tuesday that Baker stayed overnight for continued evaluation, imaging and testing before being cleared by physicians. The safety was released from the hospital Tuesday morning and is headed back to Arizona.
One of the team's emotional leaders and top performers, Baker was named to his third consecutive Pro Bowl after making 98 tackles and a career-high three interceptions this season. He made four tackles against the Rams in the 34-11 loss. It was a bitter end to the Cardinals' season, but more importantly, one of the most respected players in the team's locker room appears to have avoided serious injury.