Anquan Boldin (Christian Petersen/Getty)
The Arizona Cardinals can win without WR Anquan Boldin, but that doesn't mean they don't want him to play. The Cardinals would like to utilize all of their receiving threats but it's not looking good for the Pro Bowl receiver.
The Cardinals likely will be without Anquan Boldin for Saturday's playoff game against the Saints after he missed a second full week of practice because of ankle and knee sprains.
A final determination of Boldin's status won't be made until just hours before Saturday's game, as the Cardinals maintain hope that he can play at least a part-time role.
That seems doubtful, given Boldin's lack of practice time since suffering the sprains in the regular-season finale against the Packers.
Unless Boldin proves he can contribute through an entire game, it's doubtful the Cardinals will change their personnel plans for the Saints.
They have the talent to compensate for Boldin's absence. They did it last week in a 51-45 overtime victory over the Packers. Steve Breaston replaced Boldin and had 125 yards receiving and a touchdown.
Early Doucet stepped into the No. 3 role and scored two touchdowns. Jerheme Urban is a solid fourth receiver.
Quarterback Kurt Warner trusts his deep corps of receivers. Throw in tight end Ben Patrick, an attractive target in the red zone, and Warner still has plenty of threats at his disposal.
But it's not as if the Cardinals are better without Boldin. He gives them a proven physical presence at receiver, and he's effective in the short- to mid-range game, including in the red zone.
--WR Larry Fitzgerald is wearing a protective sleeve over his left arm to prevent aggravating a nasty bruise near his elbow. Fitzgerald doesn't seem hindered by the injury, however.
--WR Anquan Boldin probably won't play against the Saints due to knee and ankle sprains. He will be listed as questionable but he hasn't practiced in two weeks. If he does play, it's likely to be on a limited basis.
--ILB Gerald Hayes, a starter, hasn't practiced this week because of an ankle sprain. Hayes is the team's most physical linebacker and is effective against the running game. Monty Beisel likely will start in his place.
--WR Early Doucet has caught three touchdown passes over the past three games and is starting to show the reasons why the team drafted him the third round in 2008.
--SS Adrian Wilson and the rest of the secondary are coming off their worst half of the season. They missed numerous tackles in the second half of last week's victory. They won't win unless the tackling improves greatly.