Arizona Cardinals’ Will Hernandez will make most of Mexico trip despite injury – The Arizona Republic

Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Will Hernandez surely was incredibly disappointed when his chest injury from last Sunday’s Arizona Cardinals game landed him on injured reserve. 

Hernandez will have to miss the Cardinals’ game this week in Los Angeles, and beyond that the team’s game in Mexico City on Nov. 21 against the San Francisco 49ers. 

That one especially hurts, as Hernandez has roots and family in the country and city and was looking forward to playing there. The Las Vegas native had been the Cardinals’ starting right guard all season until leaving early due to his injury from last week’s game against Seattle. 

“It’s just a simple fact. It’s just something that I’ve got to accept. I can’t change it, I can’t do anything about it,” Hernandez told the Republic Friday afternoon at Cardinals headquarters. “All I can do is just show up anyway, travel with the guys, support them and be out there with all the positive energy.”

Hernandez said it will still be special for him to be part of the experience.

“Playing in front of everybody is just something that selfishly I wanted to do,” he said. “But at the end of the day it still means a lot to me. It still means a lot to be there, too.”

With the injury situation out of his control, Hernandez said he’ll do what he can to motivate his teammates from the sideline.

“I still want to go out there with the guys and make sure they know that they have my full support,” Hernandez said. He’s watched NFL games staged at Estadio Azteca on TV in the past, and feels the atmosphere will be electric inside the most iconic field of play in Mexico. 

Hernandez said he hasn’t made plans to see his relatives yet as he focuses on recovering and rehabilitating his injury. But if the chance presents itself, he’ll take it. 

“At the end of the day, I’m there for the game and for the guys in the locker room,” he said. 

Budda Baker, ‘special human’

The biggest surprise at Cardinals practice Friday was seeing injured star safety Budda Baker on the field. Baker had already been ruled out by head coach Kliff Kingsbury after Baker suffered an ankle injury last week against the Seahawks. 

But Baker played through the pain, and after not practicing Wednesday and Thursday, was listed as a limited participant Friday and is officially questionable to play against the Rams this week. 

“Obviously, he’s been fighting us (coaches) to get back out there. And we’ll see how he progresses the next couple of days,” Kingsbury said Friday. “But he’s a special human and wanted to be out there today.”

Quarterback Kyler Murray landed on the injury report this week with a hamstring tweak from the Seattle game, and was limited on Thursday and Friday in practice. 

Kingsbury said Murray will be a game-time decision. 

“I want to make sure that he can take off and do what he does with his legs,” Kingsbury said.

Center Rodney Hudson is out with a knee injury, and offensive lineman Max Garcia, another Cardinal with Mexican heritage who said he hopes to be able to play in Mexico City, was ruled out for this week with a shoulder injury. 

A lengthy list of Cardinals are questionable to play, including wide receiver Greg Dortch (groin), offensive linemen Cody Ford (illness) and D.J. Humphries (back), linebacker Dennis Gardeck (ankle), cornerbacks Byron Murphy Jr (back) and Christian Matthew (hamstring) and kicker Matt Prater (right hip/illness). 

Former assistant coach sentenced

According to an ESPN report, former Cardinals running backs coach James Saxon was sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended, after he pleaded guilty to one count of domestic battery in an Indiana court on Oct. 6.

The sentencing stems from a May incident in which he assaulted a woman at her Indianapolis home.

A second charge, domestic battery committed in the presence of a child less than 16 years old, was dismissed.

Saxon was hired prior to the 2019 season and was placed on administrative leave by the Cardinals in August. He has been an assistant coach for 23 seasons after an eight-year playing career with three teams, the Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles.

Get in touch with Jose Romero at Jose.Romero@gannett.com. Find him on Twitter at @RomeroJoseM.