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Old 01-28-2009, 07:41 PM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Ward works out, but does not fully practice with Steelers

Ward works out, but does not fully practice with Steelers
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09028/945287-66.stm

TAMPA, Fla. -- Hines Ward did not fully practice today when the Steelers took the fields for the first time at the University of South Florida, but he did run and cut and went through his own individual workouts after joining his teammates for some sessions.

Each of the two Super Bowl teams' practices are open to one pool reporter. Peter King, of Sports Illustrated, is assigned to Steelers practices.

Here is his report:

The team worked without pads on a beautiful Florida afternoon--77 degrees, sunny skies, with 15-mph winds from the south--on the USF campus north of downtown Tampa. Second-year coach Mike Tomlin began the one-hour, 58-minute session with a shout of "Let's go to work, men,'' and pronounced himself satisfied with the work on what Steeler observers said was the nicest outdoor practice day the team has had since October.

"It was a good start to our week,'' Tomlin said after practice. "We practiced fast, and I thought we practiced aggressively. But it's like I say to the team after every Wednesday practice: It's a good start, but we've got to be better tomorrow.''

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has intermittent shoulder problems during the season, looked sharp and threw several tight long spirals, including one bullet to Santonio Holmes through the wind. Running back Willie Parker, after battling shoulder and knee problems during the season, ran fast and confidently. Other than Ward, the 32-year old inspirational lead of the Pittsburgh offense, the Steelers have no health issues on either side of the ball, Tomlin said. But the coach was dismissive when asked if he was concerned about Ward's status for Sunday's game. Here's the evidence that Tomlin is not fretting about Ward: He didn't watch his star receiver running and cutting on the side field during the hour that Ward worked out away from the team.

Ward is expected to practice with the regular offense more on Thursday.

"Hines is playing,'' Tomlin said. "I'm not worried about him.''

Ward strained a knee ligament in the first quarter of the AFC Championship victory over Baltimore 10 days ago. Wearing a small black knee brace this afternoon, Ward walked onto the practice field shortly after 1 p.m. and walked through some plays with the first-team offense just before practice began at 1:30. Then, at the start of practice, he jogged through a few pass-routes with the regular offense before working out on his own for the next 55 minutes. Ward caught balls from the Juggs machine. Then four cones were laid out in a 10-yard square, and Ward ran 10-yard-incut pass-routes at about half-speed and caught passes. Then he ran sideline-to-sideline at slightly better than half-speed before encasing the knee in ice for about a half-hour. From the looks of how he ran Wednesday, Ward won't be 100 percent Sunday against Arizona, but there's little doubt he'll be in the starting lineup.

Tomlin said he was pleased with the condition of the practice fields at USF, though the freshly installed Bermuda sod was damaged by two days of sub-freezing temperatures at night last week. NFL turf guru George Toma, in charge of the Steelers fields, said the turf turned brown due to the frigid weather but three coats of field paint had them looking fresh. "The freeze turned the fields brown,'' said the 79-year-old Toma, who has worked every Super Bowl. "But it didn't hurt the fields at all.'' There were no complaints from the players or Steeler staff about the field, and the players seemed very happy to be working in warm weather on grass that held firm.

"George is awesome,'' said Tomlin. "We're not finicky. The fields are fine.''

The NBC crew televising Sunday's game was present at practice, as was former Steeler quarterback Mark Malone, part of the national radio crew for the game.

The Steelers will practice on their regular schedule this week, with Thursday and Friday workouts at USF, then a short walk-through practice Saturday.

First published on January 28, 2009 at 7:06 pm
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Old 01-28-2009, 07:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Ward works out, but does not fully practice with Steelers

Hines said on Monday when he arrived, he would test it out Wednesday and practice Thursday Don't worry folks
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: Ward works out, but does not fully practice with Steelers

Tomlin on Ward: 'The knee is awesome'
http://blogs.usatoday.com/thehuddle/...rd-update.html

TAMPA -- The latest on the Super Bowl XLIII status of Steeler WR Hines Ward's sprained right medial collateral ligament?

"The knee is awesome. It's great," said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin at his Wednesday press conference, just a little too exuberantly. "It won't be an excuse (on game day) regardless of the condition of the knee."

Ward, the MVP of Super Bowl XL when he had five catches for 123 yards and a TD in Pittsburgh's 21-10 win over Seattle, originally damaged the joint in the AFC Championship Game win over the Baltimore Ravens 10 days ago. He was hurt early in the first half and played only a few snaps after suffering the injury.

The Steelers' leading receiver in 2008 with 81 catches for 1,043 yards, Ward is coming off his fifth 1,000-yard receiving season.

"Better by the day," Ward said of the knee. "I woke up and had treatment this morning. I'll go out and jog around a little bit and see where I am."

Ward, who sat out practice Wednesday, typically doesn't practice early in the week anyway as coach Mike Tomlin tries to keep his veterans fresh.

"I gotta be smart," said Ward. "I'm not going to go out there and go 100% and risk falling on the ground in practice. I want to save all I can until I get into the game."
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: Ward works out, but does not fully practice with Steelers

Great to see that Hines is going to play (but we already knew that, didn't we? ! I think he's going to have a great game on Sunday!

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"It was a good start to our week,'' Tomlin said after practice. "We practiced fast, and I thought we practiced aggressively. But it's like I say to the team after every Wednesday practice: It's a good start, but we've got to be better tomorrow.''
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Old 01-29-2009, 06:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: Ward works out, but does not fully practice with Steelers

While he may not be 100% Ward will be starting on Sunday. And of course Ward will make some big plays for us. Great to hear that Tomlin felt we practiced well yesterday and I am sure that will continue the rest of this week. On Sunday Ben will show the world why he is one of the best QBs in the NFL.
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Old 01-29-2009, 07:31 AM   #6
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Default Re: Ward works out, but does not fully practice with Steelers

Quote:
Ward ran 10-yard-incut pass-routes at about half-speed and caught passes.
That's the most critical thing right there. We need Ward for those ten yard routes on third and long.
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: Ward works out, but does not fully practice with Steelers

I heard that he will not go 100% on it until Sunday. Fine by me. He knows what to do.
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