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Old 10-05-2006, 07:21 AM   #1
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Default Ward's injury just won't go away

Steelers Notebook: Ward's injury just won't go away
Thursday, October 05, 2006

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


The hamstring injury that kept Hines Ward out of every preseason game has improved, it just won't heal altogether, and the wide receiver predicted it will bother him the rest of the season.

"My hamstring's not going to be 100 percent this year," he declared yesterday.

Ward is off to the slowest statistical start in his career, not counting his rookie season when he did not start a game. He has caught nine passes for 99 yards. That also ties his lowest three-game stretch since he caught four passes for 67 yards in 2000; he caught nine for 99 yards over a three-game stretch in the middle of 2004.

Ward refused to blame his hamstring injury on his slow start and said that while it won't return to full health this season, it's close.

"It's a matter of battling, fighting through it," Ward said. "It feels good. A hamstring, it's kind of hard to get back to 100 percent when you're running all the time. I'm getting treatment every day to take care of it and try to be as close to 100 percent as possible."

Ward also had a hamstring injury last season, causing him to miss his only game since he arrived in the NFL in 1998.

"I don't know what's wrong with this one; it's not pulled, it's not strained, it's just aggravating. I still have some scar tissue in there. I'm feeling fine. I don't feel hindered by the hamstring, just every now and then on certain routes that I run, I may feel it."

Ward's longest reception covered 19 yards. He came close to catching one for 48 yards in Jacksonville at the goal line that was just out of his reach.

"I felt it on the initial takeoff," Ward said of that pass from Ben Roethlisberger. "But, once I got behind the guy, we were just off by a foot."

Ward said that, typical of hamstring injuries, it would heal "if you take six months off and not do anything, no running."

"But every day at practice, I'm running. My hamstring's fine, it's not 100 percent. I'm out here practicing every day and running my routes full speed, so I don't see my hamstring being a problem."


Not on Sunday


The line (and movie title) of Any Given Sunday has not applied to the Steelers through the first five weekends of the season. They played Thursday to open the season, played Monday night in their second game, finally played Sunday afternoon in their third game, had last Sunday off and will play on Sunday night this weekend.

"It doesn't feel like we've actually had a real season yet," Roethlisberger said. "We've only played one Sunday afternoon game. But it's fun to play those prime-time games."


Running back news


Halfback Najeh Davenport returned to practice yesterday after his right calf was strained in practice Monday. He is listed as questionable, although that could improve as the week goes on if he continues to practice.

Duce Staley not only continued to practice, but he looks better at it, coach Bill Cowher said. Staley ran for 707 yards in his first seven games after signing with the Steelers as a free agent in 2004. A hamstring injury ruined the second half of that season and knee surgery in the summer of '05 helped keep him inactive most of last season, although he filled in for injuries and helped them win games against Green Bay and Cleveland.

Staley, 31, has not suited up for the past two games and played one play in the opener. Cowher said it's not his knee nor his age that has held him back.

"No, just getting his legs back. He didn't have a training camp two years ago and really didn't play a lot last season, just practice. We got him back this year in training camp, so he really had a year that he had to get back. I feel like he's getting some of his legs back after watching him practice the past two weeks."


Quick hits


Cowher's teams have lost just one game in his 15 seasons when they've had a lead of more than 10 points. The Elias Sports Bureau has cost them another victory. The official keeper of NFL stats recalculated the list of such games and determined that Cowher's record should have been 99-1-1 after 14 seasons in that category instead of 100-1-1. The Steelers' 28-17 victory in the opener against Miami boosted it to 100-1-1. ... The Steelers have the fewest penalties in the league (although they've played one fewer game than most) -- six times for 60 yards. ... As with Davenport, cornerback Ricardo Colclough (neck) practiced yesterday but remains questionable. ... The Chargers list three players as questionable, but all practiced: Safety Bhawoh Jue (knee), offensive tackle Leander Jordan (neck) and tight end Ryan Krause (hamstring).
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Old 10-05-2006, 08:39 AM   #2
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Default Re: Ward's injury just won't go away

Hammy injuries are annoying as hell. I pulled a hammy playing tennis a few years back and it took forever to completely heal, so I can surely sympathize with Hines' predicament here. He may not work it back to 100%, but even an 85-90% Hines is better than no Hines at all!

Good mini-story on Staley - now it's time for him to walk the walk instead of just talking the talk. I'd still rather see what Najeh can do in the backfield, though - just a personal choice.
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Old 10-05-2006, 02:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Ward's injury just won't go away

he needs to get healthy because we dont have many weapons on offense.
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