All Eyes on Steelers, Cardinals Injuries
Hines Ward (Getty)
Hines Ward (Getty)

Posted Jan 21, 2009

A major contributor to the Cardinals and Steelers reaching the Super Bowl has been both teams' ability -- and fortune -- to stay incredibly healthy throughout the season. But even with two weeks between games, both teams find themselves concerned with a key downfield weapon.

The availability of Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward is in serious question due to a sprained right knee that is reportedly an MCL sprain that typically takes at least three weeks of recovery. But coach Mike Tomlin certainly isn't counting out the rugged Ward.

"We are going to do everything in our power to make sure that he has the medical attention that he needs," coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday. "In his mind, he is playing. So chances are he is."

If Ward can't play, it would move Nate Washington into the slot and also create more snaps for rookie Limas Sweed, who has suffered a big drop in each of the team's two postseason games.

For the Cardinals, the concern is wide receiver Anquan Boldin. The good news is the time between games should be enough to get his balky hamstring close to 100 percent. His missed the Carolina game and clearly wasn't full speed against Philadelphia.

That led to offensive coordinator Todd Haley keeping him out of a personnel grouping on the game-winning drive. The two had a heated exchange on the sideline, and Bolding didn't stick around to celebrate the victory on the field with his teammates.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt is confident the incident will blow over well before game time, but it bears watching as the media scrutiny ratchets up next week.

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