Ugly injuries mar Packers-Cardinals clash, renew concerns about kickoff safety

Thursday's NFC showdown between the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers had more than its share of injuries, with one renewing longstanding concerns about the safety of kickoffs.

The Cardinals kicked off to the Packers midway through the third quarter after a James Conner touchdown cut Green Bay's lead to 17-14. Green Bay returner Kylin Hill fielded the ball in the end zone and sprinted straight forward to the 10-yard line, where he was met by Cardinals coverage man Jonathan Ward.

Ward lowered his helmet and ran head-first directly into Hill's left leg. Ward's head snapped back, and Hill fell to the turf in pain.

Carts drove on to the field for both players. Ward required a stretcher.

Hill sat up as the cart drove him toward the Packers locker room. Green Bay ruled him out almost immediately with a knee injury.

That injury will keep Hill out for the entire season, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Trainers needed more time to stabilize Ward before loading him onto a cart. He was able to give a thumbs-up gesture as he was wheeled off the field.

The Cardinals announced that he had movement in his extremities and that he was being evaluated for a concussion and neck injury. The extent of both players' injuries wasn't immediately clear.

On the ensuing possession, Robert Tonyan collapsed to the turf with a knee injury. The Green Bay Packers tight end caught a pass from Aaron Rodgers and immediately clutched his left knee after being tackled by Cardinals safety Jalen Thompson.

He was eventually able to limp to the sideline before the Packers listed him as questionable with a knee injury. He didn't return to the field as Green Bay secured a 24-21 win.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 28: Jonathan Ward #29 of the Arizona Cardinals is carted off the field following an injury during the second half of a game against the Green Bay Packers at State Farm Stadium on October 28, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Arizona's Jonathan Ward was stabilized on a stretcher after a violent kickoff collision. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)