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It's no question Steelers' ailing Ward will play

TAMPA, Fla. - Hines Ward didn't practice yesterday. The Steelers receiver is still recovering from the knee injury he suffered in the first quarter of the AFC Championship Game against the Ravens.

But yesterday after practice, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin ended any drama there might be regarding Ward's status for Super Bowl XLIII.

"Hines is playing," Tomlin told a pool reporter. "I'm not worried about him."

The Steelers won after Ward went down against the Ravens, but receiver/returner Santonio Holmes doesn't want to take that chance again.

"He's our heart and soul of this football team," Holmes said yesterday. While Ward went through some light running and cutting drills on the sideline, the rest of the Steelers went through a 1-hour, 58-minute practice at the University of South Florida. Both teams practiced for the first time since arriving in Tampa on Monday.

"It was a good start to our week," Tomlin said. "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."

As for the Cardinals, wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who missed the divisional game against the Panthers with a hamstring injury and was limited in practice leading up to the NFC title game, practiced fully yesterday.

"He looked good today and he also looked good late last week," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt told the NFC pool reporter after practice. "We took a little easier on him early last week just to be safe."

Like Tomlin, Whisenhunt was satisfied with his team's practice, which lasted 2 hours, 15 minutes.

Injury report

Ward is the only player listed on the Steelers' injury report. For the Cardinals, RB J.J. Arrington (knee), P Ben Graham (left groin), DE Travis LaBoy (biceps) and DE Antonio Smith (knee) are limited.

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