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Warner Wrestles With Concerns

Posted Nov 30, 2009

Notebook: Bridges plays left tackle in game for first time

Quarterback Kurt Warner is planning to play against Minnesota this week, but admits he can't be definitive this early in the week.
 
 
Kurt Warner was still having “issues with my eyes” Monday, and the quarterback was to see an opthamologist Monday to further check into his situation.

The Cardinals’ veteran said he plans to play against the Vikings this week on “Sunday Night Football,” but plans – as he found last week, when he planned to play in Tennessee – can change.

“I’ve never been here before,” said Warner, who remains unsure if his lingering eye problems have anything to do with the concussion he suffered in St. Louis Nov. 22. “My goal is to play next week and the rest of the season. I don’t know what we do outside of that moving forward.”

Warner said he can see, but he has a “fogginess behind my eyes or on the top of my eyes that’s just not right, not normal.”

Warner’s status remained the top subject around the Cardinals Monday, the day after a heartbreaking 20-17 loss against the Titans.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt echoed Warner by saying that, for a second straight week, Warner would be evaluated daily. Last week, Warner practiced fully all week, and Whisenhunt said “we felt like he was getting better every day and that’s why we were preparing for Kurt to play.”

Warner said the same, going as far Monday to say not only did he progress to where he thought he would play, “I felt I could have played.”

But, Warner added, “I wanted to make the right decision. This is bigger than one football game.”

Whisenhunt didn’t specifically address how the Cardinals will approach practice this week. Because Warner seemed to be on track to play last week, he received all his normal practice time. That could change this week if Warner remains an unknown.

That backup Matt Leinart was able to play a good game Sunday with limited first-team practice work, Whisenhunt said, was “the essence of a pro.”

“To see him handle it the way he did was very encouraging,” Whisenhunt said.

Leinart said he was hoping to get more practice reps this week.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Leinart said. “I assume Kurt is playing but I am going to prepare like I am starting.”

Warner said it crossed his mind to tell the training staff he was fine, knowing he could influence the decision-making process of playing or not playing. He said there was “no question” the right decision was to not play, but added that it was impossible not to second-guess himself.

“The easy thing to do is just play,” Warner said. “The hard thing is to make that decision where you feel like you could be hurting your team, but you don't know whether you're putting yourself at risk or not. You’re always wondering if your teammates second-guess you or if you could have made an impact on the game.”

GANDY BANGED UP

Starting left tackle Mike Gandy was forced to leave the game early because the pelvis injury – which has limited him in practice the past few weeks – flared up. Whisenhunt said Gandy will be looked at today, but “he has been struggling with that.” The Cardinals’ offensive line has started as a unit in 27 straight regular-season games and 31 overall including the postseason.

Veteran Jeremy Bridges replaced Gandy and Whisenhunt said Bridges played well. Bridges also was satisfied with the performance, especially since he had never played left tackle in a regular-season game previously.

“The whole preseason I played left tackle (while with Washington),” Bridges said. “But that’s the first time in a game that counts.”

THE PUNTER AND HIS GUNNER

Both punter Ben Graham and punt-team gunner LaRod Stephens-Howling have developed a symbiotic relationship, on display Sunday when Stephens-Howling downed three Graham punts at or inside the Tennessee 5-yard line.

“I think Ben has been as consistent as anyone I have ever seen putting the ball in that area and giving our players the opportunity to down it,” Whisenhunt said. “When you know you have a punter who is going to do that, it certainly inspires you to get down there and do what (Stephens-Howling) did.”

INJURY UPDATE

Linebacker Karlos Dansby came out midway through the fourth quarter Sunday having problems on his lingering shoulder problem, and his status is being reevaluated. Whisenhunt also said running back Tim Hightower hurt his left thumb in the game.
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