Although Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington was inactive for a third straight game Sunday, coach Bruce Arians said it was a last-minute decision to hold him out.
Ellington, who has been sidelined since the season opener due to a sprained knee, was "very close" to playing against the St. Louis Rams. "It was between him and a healthy player," Arians said.
Cardinals general manager Steve Keim is optimistic Ellington will be ready for next weekend's game against the Detroit Lions.
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"He was close to being ready this week. As a matter of fact he practiced and I thought he looked pretty good out there," Keim said per Arizona Sports. "But I think he feels pretty good and he's excited and ready to go. Hopefully he'll have a good week of preparation and we'll see him out there against Detroit."
Chris Johnson has played well in Ellington's absence, rushing for 110 yards and two touchdowns in Week 3 and adding 83 yards on 16 carries in Sunday's loss.
Rookie David Johnson has also had a large role in the backfield in Ellington's absence, and Keim told hosts Doug Franz and Ron Wolfley that the third-round draft pick's play in Sunday's 24-22 loss to the Rams was emblematic of the team as a whole.
"It was one of those days where you saw guys, like a rookie like David Johnson do some things where you're like, 'wow, what a phenomenal skill-set the guy has,' and then he has a fumble on the opening kickoff and he has a dropped touchdown. There's a lot of good things to take away from it and some bad. The thing that's positive to me . . . is that we were still in the game with a few minutes to go to win the game and we played as poorly as we did."