Arizona Cardinals starting center A.Q. Shipley sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and will miss the season, head coach Steve Wilks announced Monday.
The injury occurred Saturday in practice when Shipley collided with a teammate and fell to the ground. He walked off the field, but after a brief visit to the examination tent, Shipley was taken to the locker room on a cart.
Shipley, 32, will undergo surgery and be placed on injured reserve.
“It’s a very unfortunate situation for him and the team,” Wilks told reporters. “As I mentioned a couple days ago, he’s a tremendous leader, a hard worker and when you talk about the DNA I look for, the love of the game, very passionate and gritty, he really was a leader up front.”
Shipley was a seventh-round draft pick in 2009 by Pittsburgh. He spent three seasons on NFL practice squads before finally cracking a roster. He played for Baltimore and Indianapolis before getting his shot to start with Arizona, and he started every game the past two seasons with the Cardinals.
He is the final year of a two-year contract with the Cardinals that will pay him $2 million.
Wilks said Shipley’s injury will “be an opportunity for other guys to step up at this particular time, particularly Mason Cole.”
The Cardinals picked Cole, 22, in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft from Michigan. The 6-foot-4, 307-pound player is expected to be given the chance to start at the pivot.
Throughout his playing career, Cole’s durability has been his hallmark. Dating back to the beginning of his high school career in Tarpon Springs, Fla., he has started 104 consecutive games. At Michigan, he set the record for consecutive starts by an offensive lineman with 51. He played left tackle every year for the Wolverines except his junior season, when he played the center spot.
“He has a proven track record to be able to come in and be successful,” Wilks said of Cole. “I’m excited about his opportunity, but I’m very disappointed in the loss of A.Q.”
In an interview last week with the Arizona Republic, Cole said he would be ready when needed.
“My whole thing my whole career has been about when my name is called, just be ready,” he said. “I think we’ve done a great job so far in camp of helping us younger guys get ready and coach (offensive coordinator Mike McCoy) has thrown a lot at us and that’s helped us a lot.”
—Field Level Media