Ward's hamstring a concern

PITTSBURGH – Hines Ward missed another practice Thursday because of a hamstring injury, and what once was thought to be a minor nuisance is becoming worrisome.

"He didn't practice today and we'll see how he is tomorrow," said Steelers coach Bill Cowher, "so, yeah, it becomes a concern."

Ward injured the hamstring against the New England Patriots and aggravated it last week while preparing for the San Diego Chargers. Ward played and led the Steelers with six catches for 83 yards. He would've gone over 100 yards had it not been for a reversal of a brilliant 47-yard touchdown catch-and-run.

Ward caught a 14-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger in the second quarter and fell down at the San Diego 33. A defender flew past him but a whistle was not blown, so Ward set off on a weaving 33-yard rumble into the end zone.

The play was challenged and referee Jeff Triplette reversed the call because he saw contact on the replay.

Was there contact?

"No," said Ward. "It looked like it but I wasn't touched. And I thought replays had to be conclusive to be overturned. It wasn't indisputable [evidence]."

Game announcers agreed, but wondered whether defender Quentin Jammer touched the towel clipped to Ward's waste.

"He didn't touch anything," Ward said. "But we scored on it anyway. I just thought they would at least give it to me for the effort – you know, juking out a couple guys with a bad hamstring."

The bad hamstring might bother Ward for awhile. Even though he made the great run and caught three off the Steelers' final six passes for 50 yards during the frenzied finish, Ward struggled with some of his routes because of the injury.

"Sometimes I can feel it; sometimes I can't," he said. "On certain routes, when I'm cutting, I'm trying to be more crisp. If I plant on my right, it doesn't want to give sometimes. That's when I feel it pull, so it's kind of like I'm gimpy. But sometimes I run full speed. The touchdown they called back, it was just a straight skinny [post] and I felt fine. Then the other routes, the curls and stuff, that's when … you can never tell with a hamstring."

And you can never tell when, or if, they'll heal. Is he worried it might linger through the rest of the season?

"That's the dilemma," he said. "Do I take this game off? What if it never gets right and I missed a whole game? Or do I just let it rest, go, let it rest and hope over time it gets better? I'm in the middle right now. I don't know, as far as what I'm doing and how to approach it. Right now I'm trying to rest as much as possible and then see how it feels when I go on the practice field and go from there."

Ward sat out both practices this week, but jogs back and forth as the team moves from field to field. He's too competitive to rest completely, and perhaps too competitive to miss a game.

"That's probably right, but I would never go out there and do anything to hurt our team," he said. "If I can't get open period, then there's no need for me to be out there. But it didn't hurt that bad. I was still getting open, so we'll see how it goes, day to day."

Steel City Insider Top Stories