With less than 90 minutes to go before their Thursday night matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, the Arizona Cardinals released the team's inactive list.
First round draft choice Robert Nkemdiche is inactive for the fourth straight week after playing just a handful of reps in the team's season-opening loss against the New England Patriots. Nkemdiche battled an ankle injury during fall camp and re-aggravated that injury prior to Arizona's contest against Tampa Bay, but in the past few games, Nkemdiche has been a healthy scratch for the Cardinals.
Quarterback Carson Palmer did not make the trip to San Francisco with the Cardinals, as Palmer suffered a concussion on a sack during the fourth quarter of Sunday's contest against the Los Angeles Rams. Veteran backup Drew Stanton will earn his 13th career start in place of Palmer Thursday night, and former Miami University (Ohio) quarterback Zac Dysert was elevated from Arizona's practice squad earlier this week to serve as Stanton's backup.
After Palmer tore his ACL in 2014, Stanton made eight starts in his place and went 5-3, helping to lead Arizona to a playoff berth. This season, Stanton is 5-for-15, which includes a 4-for-11 performance in relief of Palmer against Los Angeles Sunday. On both of Stanton's drives, he tossed interceptions.
Tight end Darren Fells is inactive for the first time this season, as Fells also did not make the trip to San Francisco after suffering a shoulder injury against the Rams. After the Cardinals placed tight end Troy Niklas on injured reserve, Ifeanyi Momah was elevated from the practice squad and Momah will serve as Arizona's second tight end Thursday.
On Thursday afternoon, the Cardinals elevated undrafted rookie free agent Hakeem Valles from the practice squad to act as Arizona's third tight end. To make room for Valles, the Cardinals cut running back Kerwynn Williams, who was signed earlier this week after running back Chris Johnson was placed on injured reserve.
Versatile defensive lineman Josh Mauro is also out Thursday night with a chest injury. Mauro is a warrior on the Cardinals' defensive line and has played through pain in the past, so his absence indicates his injury might be serious. Mauro is joined by fellow defensive linemen Ed Stinson and Olsen Pierre on the inactive list, as Stinson is sidelined with a toe injury while Pierre is a healthy scratch.
The Cardinals did receive some good news as veteran defensive lineman Frostee Rucker is healthy enough to play Thursday night. Rucker has been out since week one with a knee injury suffered against New England.
Arizona's final inactive player Thursday is rookie offensive lineman Cole Toner, who is the team's ninth offensive lineman and a healthy scratch against San Francisco.
The 49ers are without a handful of key pieces for Thursday's game as well, as first round draft pick and defensive lineman DeForest Buckner is inactive as well as starting tight end Vance McDonald. Former first round draft pick and starting defensive back Jimmie Ward is also out Thursday with an injury.