SANTA CLARA -- Cardinals guard Mike Iupati, who had arthroscopic knee surgery last month, likely will start against his former team if he goes through a second week of practice with no swelling in the knee, Arizona coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday.
“This was the scheduled week for him to be back -- it just happened to be (against) his old team,” Arians said. “I’m sure there’s a little extra excitement.”
If Iupati plays, he will line up at left guard, the same spot he played for five seasons with the 49ers. That would pit him against defensive linemen Quinton Dial, Ian Williams and Tank Carradine.
Iupati was a first-round pick by San Francisco in 2010. The 49ers, however, signed a long-term deal with another offensive lineman from that class, Anthony Davis, and Arizona picked up Iupati in free agency in March.
The Cardinals have not struggled in his absence. They lead the NFC West at 2-0 and their quarterback, Carson Palmer, has yet to be sacked. Palmer, who is coming back from his own knee injury, has thrown seven touchdowns against one interception and has a 124.4 passer rating.
“He’s playing on as (high) a level as anyone I’ve ever coached,” Arians said of Palmer.