DeAndre Hopkins is arguably the best receiver in football. Unfortunately for him and the Cardinals, he will not play in the team’s Wild Card game against the Rams on Monday night. 

Hopkins, who totaled 42 receptions for 572 yards and eight touchdowns in 10 games this season, is still recovering from a torn MCL that has sidelined him for the last four weeks. He underwent surgery to repair the tear and was originally slated to return for the NFC Championship game, if the Cardinals were to advance that far. 

Instead, Arizona is expected to field receivers AJ Green, Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore on Monday. Backup receiver Antoine Wesley, who recorded five catches for 30 yards and two touchdowns in the Cardinals’ 25-22 win over the Cowboys on Jan. 2, could also receive playing time at Hopkins’ position. 

It is unclear where Hopkins is at in his recovery. However, Arizona could return star defensive end JJ Watt, who was initially expected to be out for the season after he suffered a torn labrum, bicep, rotator cuff and separated shoulder in October. 

If the Cardinals advance in the postseason, Hopkins’ return could be upcoming. Here’s a look at his injury update. 

How long is DeAndre Hopkins out? 

Initial reports indicated Hopkins would be out for six weeks after tearing his MCL in the Cardinals’ 30-23 loss to the Rams on Dec. 13. Based on that timeline, Hopkins would be ready before the NFC Championship game on Jan. 30. 

That is consistent with reporting from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who said any prior return to that game is “unrealistic.” 

What is DeAndre Hopkins’ injury? 

Hopkins suffered a torn MCL in the Cardinals’ Week 14 matchup with the Rams.

It’s unclear when exactly the injury occurred, but late in the fourth quarter, two Rams defenders landed on the outstretched leg of Hopkins. He took several moments to gather himself before limping off.

While the injury was originally diagnosed as a “knee sprain,” it was later revealed that Hopkins suffered a torn MCL, though the severity (Grade 1, 2 or 3) is unknown.

Surgery was the only option that would fully stabilize the injured knee.

DeAndre Hopkins injury timeline

  • Dec. 13: Late in the Week 14 matchup with the Rams, two Rams players land on Hopkins’ knee in the end zone. Hopkins limps off the field and tries to stretch out his knee on the sideline. 
  • Dec. 14: Hopkins gets an MRI on the knee, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury adds that Hopkins is going to get a second opinion on the ailing knee.
  • Dec. 15: The injury, which was initially diagnosed as a knee sprain, will keep him out the remainder of the regular season, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Adam Schefter. 
  • Dec. 16: NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Hopkins will undergo knee surgery, which has a six-week recovery timeframe. That will keep him out until late in the playoffs — should the Cardinals make it that far.
  • Jan. 12: Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury tells the Los Angeles media that Hopkins is not ready to return from knee surgery for the wild-card game against the Rams, which is consistent with previous reporting.