Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Zach Allen played in a career-high 15 games in 2021. Injuries have been his biggest obstacle in the NFL thus far in his NFL career as he enters his fourth season.
However, no one can really question his toughness. The only two games he missed last season were when he was out with COVID-19.
He played through a severe ankle injury over the final month of the season, eventually having surgery after the Cardinals’ playoff loss.
He had been dealing with pain in his ankle but finally had it looked at after the Cardinals played the Indianapolis Colts on Christmas night.
“We finally did the MRI and we saw what it actually was,” he said after the final practice of mandatory minicamp. “We knew surgery was an option but we were able to play through it.”
He played in the final two games of the regular season and the Cardinals’ playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams, playing 42, 55 and 43 snaps over those three games. His 55 snaps in Week 18 against the Seattle Seahawks were 95% of the team’s defensive snaps.
“Luckily, there’s a lot of tape and a lot of Toradol out there so we were able to make it work and kind of keep it together,” he said.
Just how bad was his injury?
“I literally had no ligaments in my ankle,” he said. “My tibia was basically floating so tape was the only thing keeping it together.”
He had some hardware put in his ankle and has had no setbacks in his recovery. He has begun to do positional drills and is ahead of schedule and said that he feels better this year in the offseason than he did the previous two years.
Allen finished the season with 48 tackles, four sacks, five tackles for loss, 14 quarterback hits, an interception, four pass breakups and three fumble recoveries, one he returned for a touchdown in Week 18 on his bad ankle.
Takeaways from Cardinals’ mandatory minicamp
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