By Teresa Varley
Wide receiver Hines Ward suffered a right knee sprain in the AFC Championship Game, but don't expect that to keep him on the sidelines in Super Bowl XLIII against the Arizona Cardinals.
"In his mind he is playing, so chances are he is," said head coach Mike Tomlin. "It's not gong to be comfortable between now and game day in terms of making that happen. It's not about comfort, particularly for Hines."
Ward was at the team's practice facility at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex on Tuesday getting treatment, despite it being the player's day off.
"The guy I saw this morning was down there aggressively getting after his rehabilitation and putting himself in position to help this football team," said Tomlin. "We're going to do everything in our power to make sure he gets the medical attention that he needs."
Ward might miss some practice time this week as the team starts preparation for Super Bowl XLIII while still in Pittsburgh, but game day should be a different story.
"We are not going to count him out," said Tomlin. "We are going to save a seat on the bus for 86."
In other injury news running back Mewelde Moore and guard Darnell Stapleton both suffered sprained ankles in the game, while tackle Max Starks had a sprained knee. Special teams ace Patrick Bailey suffered a hamstring strain. All four players could be limited at the beginning of this week, but aren't expected to miss the game.
Center Justin Hartwig, who suffered a knee injury in the Divisional Playoff game, did not further injure the knee but still will be rested somewhat this week.
"I might limit him at the early part of the week to get him physically in the best shape we can get him to get ready to push off to Tampa," said Tomlin. "I think it's important that we recognize that we have two full weeks to prepare for this football game. There is some above the neck preparation that will continue big. There is some below the neck preparation that some guys need, but if their bodies can benefit from a day or two, we'll going to provide them that in an effort to be at our best."