You’ve got to feel for Carson Palmer.

The 34-year-old veteran quarterbacked the Arizona Cardinals to a season-opening, 18-17 win over the San Diego Chargers. He missed the next three games dealing with a nerve issue – an ailment that wasn’t supposed to sideline him for a month, but ultimately did – only to return and lead Arizona to five straight wins, including victories over the Eagles and Cowboys. But late in the Cardinals’ most recent win, a 31-14 victory over the St. Louis Rams, Palmer tore his ACL, ending his season.

Palmer threw for 1,626 yards, 11 touchdowns and three picks in his six games at quarterback; he was instrumental in leading Arizona to the NFL’s best record at 8-1, and earned a contract extension in the process. Instead of gearing up for a Super Bowl run, though, Palmer will have to watch from the sidelines as Drew Stanton looks to fill his shoes. Bruce Arians spoke about the situation on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

“You always know, when it’s a non-contact, you know it’s bad,” Arians said. “I didn’t even wanna walk out there, because I knew what I was gonna find. I just felt so bad for him, personally. Our team will survive, but he has put so much into this season, and given us so much leadership. I was just looking forward for him to get into the playoffs and win one.”

“He’s devastated, of course he would be at this time,” Arians continued. “He put so much into this, and just having the contract renewed, and everything was looking so good. He’s having so much fun everyday, he’s the first one in, last one to leave. So it’s gonna be really hard on him.”

Arians told SiriusXM NFL Radio that Palmer will continue to be a very visible presence at Cardinals practices and games as he recovers.

“There’s no doubt he’ll be at practice everyday, as long as it’s safe for him to be on the sideline,” Arians said. “He’ll go out for the coin toss. He’ll maintain his leadership role on the team.”

As for a timetable on Palmer’s return, Arians was optimistic that his quarterback will follow the precedent of players who have recently returned from torn ACLs, and be back on the field in much less than a year.

“As the swelling goes down, they’ll do the surgery,” Arians said. “Feel like he’ll be back by OTAs, maybe the latest, July. These things are so much easier now. It’s just the ACL; there’s no other damage in the knee. And guys are coming back in six, seven months now.”

Arians was confident that Stanton won’t miss a beat in replacing Palmer.

“The way Drew has played,” Arians said, “nobody blinks in our locker room. Everybody’s got a lot of trust in him, and we’ve gotta keep him standing.”

The Cardinals host the Detroit Lions in an NFC showdown Sunday at 4:25 pm ET. For SiriusXM channel information, visit the NFL schedule.

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