By Teresa Varley
More coverage: A tougher brand of "D" * Hearing from Head Coach Mike Tomlin
A massive crowd of local and national media gathered around Hines Ward's locker on Wednesday and just wanted to know one thing. Will Ward play in Super Bowl XLIII was the question on everyone's mind.
Ward suffered a knee injury in the AFC Championship game, leaving during the first half and not returning, sending immediate panic through the Steelers Nation.
But everyone can breathe a sigh of relief today because Ward said he will definitely play in the game.
"I will play," said Ward. "I will definitely play."
Ward did not practice on Wednesday, and will not take part in practice the remainder of the week, so that he has a chance to let the knee heal.
"I am putting in 24 hours of treatment," said Ward. "I am getting treatment at 1 a.m., 4 a.m., 7 a.m. and all day through the work day.
"I am going through intense rehab. I get all this week off. I get a chance to just work on the knee and see if I can get it totally close to 100 percent as possible."
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has all of the confidence in the world in having Ward out there as one of his main offensive weapons.
"I expect him to be out there if we play tomorrow," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "Hines is a competitor. He is a phenomenal receiver. He is as tough as it gets. That's why I have no doubt he will be out there."
Ward wasn't the only player who didn't practice on Wednesday. Roethlisberger sat out with tightness in his back, as did Justin Hartwig (knee), Mewelde Moore (ankle), Patrick Bailey (hamstring), Max Starks (knee) and Lawrence Timmons (illness).
Players were putting the finishing touches on Super Bowl preparations for their families on Wednesday and while head coach Mike Tomlin isn't a big fan of distractions, he finds this better than the alternative.
"We recognize that is an issue and a potential problem, but it beats the alternative," said Tomlin. "It's a nice problem to have. If that is what comes with this game, then we embrace it. We do what we need to do in order to prepare ourselves to get ready to play winning football. That's going to be my approach. That's the approach I'm selling to the football team and we are going to take it as that. We can complain about it. We can let it be a distraction, but it is a complaint and a distraction that we would all love to have at this time of year. So we embrace it."
For the second week in a row Roethlisberger will face a tough safety who can make a game-changing play, this time the Cardinals Adrian Wilson.
'He's a very physical safety," said Roethlisberger. "He is down in the box a lot. He makes a lot of plays. We're going to have to keep our eye on him. Where Ed Reed likes to play centerfield, Wil comes down in the box and smacks you and blitzes you. We're going to have to have a hat for him and an eye on him."