Jonathan Cooper has seemingly been on the road to recovery since he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2013.
The Cardinals guard enters his second year having missed all of 2013 with a broken leg and has been struggling with significant turf toe since early in training camp. Despite the injuries, the team remains confident their former first-round pick will grow from his injuries and be a great player in Arizona.
"Some guys have to go through this, and at the end of the day, this might make Jonathan Cooper a better player down the road," said Cardinals GM Steve Keim in an interview with Doug and Wolf Tuesday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Keim acknowledged that Cooper's injuries may provide some needed experience to teach the young player how to play through adversity.
"(Cooper) never had major injuries at North Carolina," Keim said. "He came out relatively unscathed throughout his career there. So now you look at a guy who's had to face two pretty significant injuries and now he's got to learn as a young player, as they all do, how to play with some discomfort."
The Cardinals are also afforded some leeway with Cooper's recovery, as other players proved their ability to contribute right now on the offensive line.
"The fact that we don't have to throw him out there every snap right now and reaggravate that injury is a bonus. I think we can take our time with him," he said. "Ted Larsen's playing good football, so that gives us some flexibity," Keim said, referring to the Cardinals veteran guard who was signed in March.
The Cardinals are currently looking through the injuries to see a bright future for Cooper.
"We are in it for the long haul with (Cooper), and I have no doubts in my mind that he's going to end up being a great player for us down the road."