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Cardinals’ Jared Veldheer exits with arm injury against Panthers

Arizona Cardinals’ left tackle Jared Veldheer left Sunday’s matchup against the Carolina Panthers with an arm injury and was ruled out for the rest of the game.

John Wetzel replaced Veldheer in the fourth quarter after he headed to the sideline. The veteran offensive lineman played with a cast around the middle and ring finger on his right hand to protect a break. It seems like this arm injury is a different ailment, however.

Despite occasional appearances on the injury report, he has started all 40 possible regular season games for Arizona since 2014.

The 29-year-old was the 69th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders out of Hillsdale. He started 43 games in his first three seasons. In 2013, a contract year, Veldheer played only five games and suffered torn triceps that sidelined him for most of the season.

In the spring of 2014, the Cardinals were looking for someone to improve their disastrous offensive line. They honed in on Veldheer, who had worked with starting quarterback Carson Palmer in Oakland. On March 11, the parties agreed to a five-year, $35 million contract. The Cardinals’ offensive line made substantial improvements and Veldheer was the team MVP by vote of the local PFWA chapter.

The loss of Veldheer would be problematic for Arizona. Guard Evan Mathis is already on injured reserve and the Cardinals have been struggling in pass protection, giving up eight sacks against the Panthers on Sunday.

Although the Cardinals do sport running back David Johnson in the backfield with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald split out wide, the team has continued to struggle mightily in 2016.

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