Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins return for Arizona Cardinals vs. Chicago Bears

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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, listed as questionable because of his lingering ankle injury, started Sunday's 33-22 win over the Chicago Bears.

Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, listed as questionable because of a hamstring issue, also played.

In the week leading up to the Bears game, Kingsbury and the Cardinals took their familiar cautious approach to Murray's status, considering his high left ankle sprain. On Friday, Kingsbury said his quarterback's status would be a game-time decision, in part because of strategy and in part because last year's tailspin in the final nine games of the season is still fresh in his memory.

Murray was "better this week," Kingsbury said, adding he is hopeful that the quarterback will feel good and "be ready to roll." Murray hasn't played since spraining his ankle in the final moments of a Week 8 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

The Cardinals had some fun on Twitter with Murray's return by referencing Michael Jordan's statement upon his return to the Chicago Bulls.

In his return, Murray became the fourth-youngest quarterback to hit 10,000 passing yards behind leader Drew Bledsoe, Jameis Winston and Dan Marino. Murray finished the day 11 of 15 for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

Hopkins caught both balls thrown his way for 32 yards and a touchdown.

With Sunday's win, Arizona has the best record in the NFL at 10-2, and owns the No. 1 seed in the NFC and first place in the NFC West.

Last year's late-season tailspin, when Arizona went 3-6 after starting 5-2, in part because of multiple injuries to Murray, has played a factor in Kingsbury being ultra-cautious with him.

"I just think we want to finish the right way this season, and we didn't last year," Kingsbury said. "So we're just trying to be smart about it."

Kingsbury hasn't been surprised by how long Murray has taken to heal, because high ankle sprains are "tricky. Everybody knows that."

Hopkins wasn't on the field for the open portion of practice Friday after being limited Wednesday and Thursday.

"We're just being smart," Kingsbury said. "We want to make sure he feels really good for the stretch run, and so we'll see how he progresses, run him on Sunday and see if he can go."

Hopkins said having the past two weeks off because of the bye helped him "a lot."

"Rest is key," he said.

Hopkins, who had missed two games in his entire career before missing the past three, doesn't think he will be rusty and isn't concerned about his hamstring responding to him playing at full speed.

"I know what I can do out there when I'm healthy," he said. "So go out there and do my best to help this team win."

ESPN's Josh Weinfuss contributed to this report.