A visit to a spine specialist confirmed what already had been diagnosed: Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer has a "dead" nerve in his throwing shoulder.
Palmer visited the specialist on Wednesday, and said Thursday that no structural damage was detected.
"No surgery," he said. "It's not career-ending, it's not season-ending, nothing like that. So that was all positive. I'm just going to continue to do the rehab I've been doing with our guys and I'm very confident it's going to wake back up."
Palmer said the doctor told him the chances were one in 100,000 of him falling on the shoulder in just the wrong way to put pressure on the nerve and "shut it down."
"I can get tackled thousands of times," he said, "it just happened that my arm was in the wrong position."
Palmer has not officially been ruled out of Sunday's game at Denver, but all signs point to Drew Stanton making his third straight start.
Palmer's shoulder felt better a week ago so he did some throwing, activity that irritated the nerve again.
"I threw 20% of what I typically throw as far as velocity is concerned," Palmer said. "I haven't gone out there and just chucked the ball all over the field. That's not what they've told me to do."
Palmer's shoulder was hurt when he landed on it while trying to run for a first down in the Cardinals' 18-17 season-opening win over San Diego.
Spillman back to practice
With his coach's backing, C.J. Spillman returned to the Dallas Cowboys practice field as he awaits the results of a police investigation into his role in an alleged sexual assault last month at a suburban hotel.
"I'm not going to make any comment on an investigation where there've been no arrests or charges made," Coach Jason Garrett said. "Having said that, we've been very clear with our team about consequences that there will be if there is a situation where charges or arrests are made for a crime. We've been clear about that. That doesn't apply in this particular case."
Garrett declined to say when the team was made aware of the allegation. Police spokesman Sgt. Robert Eberling said Wednesday night that the alleged assault took place early Sept. 20 at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine.
The team flew to St. Louis later that Saturday, and the 28-year-old Spillman played on special teams against the Rams the next day. He has played in all four games, including last weekend at home against New Orleans, and is listed as a safety though he hasn't played on defense.
Spillman's agent, Ron Slavin, and attorney Bruce Ashworth declined to comment. Eberling said no other details were being released because the investigation is ongoing.
Union criticizes league
The union representing NFL on-field officials criticized the league for inconsistencies in grading calls, including two high-profile penalties from recent games.
In a release, the NFL Referees' Assn. said the NFL has "caused confusion for NFL officials as to what the league does and doesn't want called."
The union referred to penalties on the Washington Redskins' Chris Baker for a hit on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles on Sept. 21, and to Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah on Monday night for going to his knees to celebrate an interception return for a touchdown. Abdullah actually had gone to his knees to pray — an act exempted from celebration penalties.
The union said both calls were graded as correct even after NFL executives announced that they were incorrect. Baker got a 15-yard penalty and was ejected from the game at Philadelphia. Abdullah also received a 15-yard penalty.
"Consistency in penalty enforcement is extremely important to the players, coaches and fans. Uncertainty as to what the league wants called is not a road you want to go down," said Jim Quirk, executive director of the NFLRA.