Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins came into Thursday's game against the Green Bay Packers with a lingering hamstring injury. When Hopkins aggravated that injury during the first quarter of the game, it was assumed he would sit the rest of the night.
That was the plan, but Hopkins refused to follow it. Hopkins forced himself back into the contest as the Cardinals tried to claw their way back. Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury wasn't happy with that decision.
"We wanted him to stay off the field, but he'd just run on," Kingsbury said. "He wants to play, super competitive and made some plays there, and we just want him to be smart, but he was definitely hurting."
Hopkins came into the game hurting. He was not able to practice the entire week due to the injury and was considered a game-time decision Thursday.
Things looked promising early, as Hopkins hauled in a 55-yard pass in the first quarter. Hopkins appeared to aggravate his hamstring on that play, and remained sidelined until the third quarter. He made one more catch during the game, finishing with two grabs for 66 yards.
Kingsbury acknowledged Hopkins' competitive spirit, but stressed that the team is "trying to be smart" with Hopkins considering it's the middle of the season.
Cardinals' comeback falls short after interception
With Hopkins on the field, the Cardinals valiantly tried to come back against the Packers. Down by three, Arizona drove down to the Packers' 5-yard line with under a minute to play. It looked as if the Cardinals would at least force overtime, but a miscommunication between Kyler Murray and A.J. Green led to a game-sealing interception. Hopkins was on the field for the Cardinals' final play.
The Cardinals are still in good position following the loss. The team dropped to 7-1, and remains one of the best teams in the NFC. Barring an epic collapse, a playoff appearance seems likely.
The Cardinals need to do whatever is necessary to make sure Hopkins is back to 100 percent when the postseason begins ... even if Hopkins desperately wants to keep playing.