Warner has a surprise for San Diego

The Cardinals know this weekend is the last game of their season, so they're gearing up for it with the excitement level of a playoff game. And quarterback Kurt Warner has a little surprise in store for San Diego to boot.

Kurt Warner is wearing gloves in a game for the first time in his career. Warner began experimenting with the gloves in practice about three weeks ago. He liked the second pair he tried and was comfortable that they didn't negatively impact his passes.

Warner has heard for years that his hands are weaker as a result of injuries. He didn't buy it for the longest time, but he's conceding now that there might be something to it. He's hoping the gloves help his grip on the ball. It's early in the process, but his throws actually look better since he donned the gloves. He appears to be throwing more spirals.

"It's an experiment that's kind of been going on the last three or four weeks," he said. "They really felt pretty good (Sunday)."

Warner has raved about the increased tack he has on the ball now, and he plans to wear the gloves Sunday in San Diego.

Warner is starting in place of Matt Leinart who suffered a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder. Leinart, who is left-handed, is not expected to need surgery, but he will need several weeks to recover from the sprain. He's expected to undergo an MRI on Wednesday to make sure there was no structural damage in the shoulder.

After a 1-8 start, the Cardinals go to San Diego, the hottest team in the league, with wins in four of their past six games.

"We've been playing better over the last six or seven weeks and we just want to finish this season on a high note," said Warner, who makes his first start in 13 weeks in place of injured rookie Matt Leinart.

The veteran Warner, the starter the first four games before losing the job to Leinart, came off the bench to pass for 105 yards (9-13) and a 93.4 quarterback rating in a win last Sunday at San Francisco.

"Kurt came in and did a really solid job," said Cardinals coach Dennis Green. "He made some key throws."

Warner, who lost the job in part because of his fumbles, wore gloves for the first time vs. the 49ers.

"I've been trying the gloves as an experiment in the past few weeks and it's been helping me hold on to the ball and hopefully protecting my hands a little bit," Warner said.

Being the reliever was a new role. And Warner hadn't played in three months.

"Actually, I was a little bit nervous. I felt a little pressure," Warner said. "We had been moving the ball pretty well and Matt had done very well. The offense had been moving and putting points up on the board, so, when I came in I didn't want to do anything stupid. I wanted to manage the game and build on our success."

Warner said Sunday's visit to San Diego may be his last game. "I'm going to weigh a lot of factors," he said. "For one, I have seven kids at home. They have to be considered, so it's not just a question of what's best for me personally, or for my football career. On the other hand, I definitely want to continue playing and I'm under contract to do so. So, we'll see how things go."

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