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Old 08-23-2006, 03:59 AM   #1
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Default Ward wants to play Friday, prefers to be 100 percent

Ward wants to play Friday, but prefers to be 100 percent by the opener
Wednesday, August 23, 2006

By Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Hines Ward, Terrell Owens and Steve Smith, as three of the top receivers in the NFL, are used to star treatment. What they all could use now is a different kind of treatment -- a tonic for what ails their troublesome hamstring injuries.

Ward's nagging injury has not developed into the daily soap opera that Owens' has in Dallas, but it's getting to the point where it's beyond a minor problem. Ward tried to practice again yesterday -- one day after "tweaking" the hamstring in practice -- and the results were not what he was hoping for.

Ward went through individual drills with the rest of the receivers early in practice, but had to beg off on other work after the hamstring did not respond when he planted and tried to cut. He was visibly upset with the setback, and the only physical thing he did the rest of practice was some light jogging under the supervision of trainer John Norwig.

"I just have to be smart," Ward said. "It's about the regular season. I'm not concerned with anything else. I'm not going to step foot [out here] unless I'm 100 percent. I don't want to keep re-aggravating it. That's not going to get me anywhere."

Ward was injured during a practice Aug. 4. He rehabilitated the injury for more than two weeks before practicing for the first time Monday. He is frustrated because he has done everything the training staff has asked and more, and the injury has not responded the way he would like.

It seems highly unlikely that Ward will play Friday in Philadelphia given this latest setback. Ward had targeted the third preseason game as a comeback date because he wanted to play with his teammates and get on the same page. Ward categorized himself as "90 percent" after practice yesterday. If he does not play against the Eagles, he would not play in the final preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, either. That might be a good time to have a conversation with Smith, the superstar receiver for the Panthers, who is going through a similar hamstring injury.

"Norwig called down to North Carolina, and the same thing is going on with Steve Smith," Ward said. "They're trying to see what he's doing. It is frustrating because I'm doing everything they ask me to do. It's still not healing up the way I want it. The recovery time is not what I want. But it's a hamstring. It can go two weeks to four weeks. I just have to play it smart and not force it. I really wanted to play in this game. If it feels better tomorrow I'll give it a shot. If not, I just have to prepare for the regular season.

"I can walk, do everything. But when I come out here and plant and burst off, that's when I feel it. When you're feeling that it's not 100 percent ... I'm not going to force myself. If I keep coming out here and re-aggravating it, it will never get better."

While Ward is clearly bothered by the lack of progress, the coaching staff does not seem ready to push the panic button. Ward's injury is being called a strain. An MRI did not show a tear or even a slight pull. Coach Bill Cowher is telling the Super Bowl XL MVP to take the cautious approach, to let time aid in the healing.

"It's a very frustrating injury as you can see around the league," Cowher said. "It's very hard to put any kind of time frame for these things. He came out [Monday] and did some work. And I don't think he set himself back, but we just have to be careful. You don't want to re-injure it or set it back.

"We're going to take it day to day. I told him to just be patient and go through the process."

Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said it would not be a big deal if Ward had to miss the final two preseason games. Ward did not practice much last preseason because of his contract holdout, and it didn't have an impact on his level of play during the season.

"I think he's played enough games that I don't have a lot of concern about him," Whisenhunt said. "He didn't practice a lot last year in training camp and had a pretty good season. He's a pro. He knows how to get prepared. Even though we'd like to have him out there on the field, he'll be out there when the games start counting."

After yesterday's events, Ward seems to be on the same wavelength.

"It's still preseason," Ward said. "The regular season is what counts. I have to make sure I get it back to 100 percent so I can help contribute to the team."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06235/715573-66.stm
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Old 08-23-2006, 06:49 AM   #2
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Default Re: Ward wants to play Friday, prefers to be 100 percent

Once again...Hines knows his body...he also knows the offense...and knows Ben....

no worries ... lay low til 9/7 hines...we know you'll be there...
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Old 08-23-2006, 07:33 AM   #3
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Default Re: Ward wants to play Friday, prefers to be 100 percent

I think everyone knows that Hines is no sissy primadonna - if the guy who lays them huge blocks game in game out says he is injured - then he is injured.

The management should treat this as an injury that will keep him out until week 2/3 - if he returns before then, then they should consider it a bonus.

He is too important from a leadership perspective to lose for any great length of time.

I've been hearing about how great the Steelers WR depth is anyways, this would be a great opportunity to test that theory.

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Old 08-23-2006, 07:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: Ward wants to play Friday, prefers to be 100 percent

Yep. As long as he's there for the opener and well, this will be a distant memory.
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Old 08-23-2006, 08:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: Ward wants to play Friday, prefers to be 100 percent

Quote:
Originally Posted by Livinginthe past
I think everyone knows that Hines is no sissy primadonna - if the guy who lays them huge blocks game in game out says he is injured - then he is injured.

The management should treat this as an injury that will keep him out until week 2/3 - if he returns before then, then they should consider it a bonus.

He is too important from a leadership perspective to lose for any great length of time.

I've been hearing about how great the Steelers WR depth is anyways, this would be a great opportunity to test that theory.

NM
Agreed. I know how much Hines wants to be out there, but he needs to be patient with himself and just let the injury heal. There's 2 weeks left until the first game - hopefully that'll be enough time for him to get to 100% and be ready to knock out some LBs and DBs.
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Old 08-23-2006, 08:38 AM   #6
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Default Re: Ward wants to play Friday, prefers to be 100 percent

I totally agree with Hines in doing what he feels is best to give that hammy a little more time to heal properly. Hamstring injuries are one of the most nagging injuries in an athlete and taking a chance on re-aggravating it could set Hines back who knows how long. Good move Hines - stay on the sidelines for these last 2 preaseason games which don't mean squat diddily do, cheer your teammates on and get that hammy healthy for the opener against the Fins - we need you healthy buddy!
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Old 08-23-2006, 11:08 AM   #7
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Default Re: Ward wants to play Friday, prefers to be 100 percent

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackNGold203
Once again...Hines knows his body...he also knows the offense...and knows Ben....

no worries ... lay low til 9/7 hines...we know you'll be there...
Excellent point! I have actually thought Hines might be pullng a TO, but once I saw him try and practice that thought was erased from head! He injured this hammy last year and he just needs to let it heal and stop trying to force the issue because it's only going to get worse.
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: Ward wants to play Friday, prefers to be 100 percent

Hines Ward will sit out Friday's game
Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Steelers Coach Bill Cowher said this morning that Hines Ward will not play Friday in Philadelphia in the third preseason game.

Ward tried over the past two days to practice for the first time in two weeks, but he had to leave early both times because his injured hamstring continues to give him problems.

"We're going to err on the side of caution," Cowher said. "I'm encouraged by his progress even though he's going slow. We have to be patient."

Cowher also revealed that cornerback Deshea Townsend will not play Friday because he has a broken right thumb. Cowher said he apparently broke it when he interecepted a ball in practice yesterday. Cowher could not say whether Townsend will be ready to play for the Sept. 7 opener against Miami. The coach also said no. 2 tight end Jerame Tuman (hamstring) will not play against the Eagles.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06235/715697-100.stm
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: Ward wants to play Friday, prefers to be 100 percent

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Originally Posted by 83-Steelers-43
Hines Ward will sit out Friday's game
Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Steelers Coach Bill Cowher said this morning that Hines Ward will not play Friday in Philadelphia in the third preseason game.

Ward tried over the past two days to practice for the first time in two weeks, but he had to leave early both times because his injured hamstring continues to give him problems.

"We're going to err on the side of caution," Cowher said. "I'm encouraged by his progress even though he's going slow. We have to be patient."

Cowher also revealed that cornerback Deshea Townsend will not play Friday because he has a broken right thumb. Cowher said he apparently broke it when he interecepted a ball in practice yesterday. Cowher could not say whether Townsend will be ready to play for the Sept. 7 opener against Miami. The coach also said no. 2 tight end Jerame Tuman (hamstring) will not play against the Eagles.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06235/715697-100.stm
Great.....back to my mantra......it's only preseason, it's only preseason.........
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Old 08-23-2006, 01:05 PM   #10
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Default Re: Ward wants to play Friday, prefers to be 100 percent

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Great.....back to my mantra......it's only preseason, it's only preseason.........
That's the best way to go.

Wether it was our 1st, 2nd or 3rd stringers, there have been years we looked excellent during the preseason and played horrible come regular season; there have been years we have looked horrible during the preseason and played great come regular season.

September 7 and beyond is all that matters.
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