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Banged-up Cards Can Only Wait

Notebook: Boldin, Rodgers-Cromartie, Rolle miss practice as injury bug hits


Wide receiver Anquan Boldin suffered ankle and knee injuries against the Packers and his availability Sunday is very much in doubt.
The only thing known for certain Wednesday about the Cardinals' big three injuries coming out of the regular-season finale was that Anquan Boldin and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie didn't practice and Calais Campbell was limited.

Other than that, the status of the three starters – in addition to safety Antrel Rolle, who didn't practice for a fourth straight time – remains in question.

Boldin told the Arizona Republic he has a high left ankle sprain and a sprain of the left medial collateral ligament. Rodgers-Cromartie has a bruised knee and Campbell a surgically repaired thumb. Campbell's practice work did include a club-like cast on his left hand.

Not only was Rolle still out, but guard Deuce Lutui left practice after back spasms.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the players were "improving," and only time can sift through who will be available and who will not.

Rodgers-Cromartie insisted he'd play, saying he do so even if he "were 10 percent" healthy. Then he said he had to practice by Thursday to have that happen.

"I've got to get into practice," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "The practice field makes it that much better on the game field. If I'm not going to practice by (Thursday), I'm not going to play. … I need to get on that practice field."

Rodgers-Cromartie said he planned to be practicing Thursday, but also acknowledged there was no way he could have practiced Wednesday.

Campbell had already said he planned to play with the cast, and there seems to be general optimism the Cards will have those two defenders.

Boldin may be a different story, although the receiver said he was "all right."

"It's getting better every day," Boldin said. "I'm still optimistic. As long as it keeps improving, I should be all right."

If not, the Cardinals will have to plug Steve Breaston into the lineup, which may end up affecting the team more for the intangibles Boldin brings rather than pure pass-catching reasons.

"There is always a question mark when you have to have someone step in for those kinds of guys," quarterback Kurt Warner said. "A guy like Q, you don't replace guys like that. You never want to go into a game (as a team) like this less than 100 percent and not with your top players."


Playing the same team two weeks in a row has made preparation that much easier for both teams, since both the Cards and the Packers were able to install at least parts of the game plan last week.

"Now that we have another week to prepare, we really didn't feel like we needed to add very much," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.

"(This week) is an opportunity to go back and watch more film of Arizona earlier in the season and things like that. … Most of our planning is definitely a carry-over."

Whisenhunt was less black-and-white on the issue, saying the Cardinals are carrying some plays over this week after the Cards didn't run them against the Packers last weekend.

"Obviously you go back and look at things that happened in the game last week and things you want to correct and try to implement," Whisenhunt said. "It's always a little easier playing a team a second week as far as game-planning because you already have a basis to start the game plan from."


Backup quarterback Matt Leinart was named the Cardinals' Walter Payton Man of the Year for his off-the-field work, something of an upset since the reigning NFL Man of the Year sits next to him in the locker room – Kurt Warner.

"It's a great honor, especially knowing Kurt won last year," Leinart said. "The reason why I do those things is they are something I love to do. I was excited. My brother, who runs my foundation was excited.

"There are a lot of guys on this team that do a lot of (charitable work). I'm just honored to be the one chosen."

Leinart, through his foundation, has pledged money to children's hospitals, organized local social activities for Make-a-Wish and Big Brothers, Big Sisters, hosts 16 underprivleged kids at every Cards' home game and has created an inner city football league in Los Angeles for overweight and underprivileged children.

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