Sports

Cardinals absorb pair of body blows

TEMPE, Ariz. - Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt tried to be cautious in his team's regular-season finale to protect his players from injury.

Instead, two key players were on the sideline with injuries from that game when the Cardinals went back to work Wednesday.

Three-time Pro Bowl receiver Anquan Boldin did not practice because of a sprained left ankle and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a Pro Bowl selection in his second season, was out with a bruised left kneecap.

Both injuries occurred in last Sunday’s 33-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the team the Cardinals host in a wild-card playoff game on Sunday.

Boldin is important, but the Cardinals are 5-1 without him the past two years, including a 33-13 playoff win at Carolina last season.

Rodgers-Cromartie is crucial as the team’s “cover” cornerback. He leads Arizona with six interceptions.

Rodgers-Cromartie said he needs at least some practice to prepare for the high-powered passing game of the Packers.

“If I ain’t going to practice (today), then I’m not going to play,” he said.

Rodgers-Cromartie, hurt on the third play of Sunday’s game when he landed on a receiver’s cleats, said he can run forward. The pain comes when he plants the leg and tries to cut.

“It’s a day-to-day thing,” he said. “It ain’t getting no better, it ain’t getting no worse.”

Boldin, who surpassed 1,000 yards receiving for a franchise-record fifth time, stayed in last Sunday’s game into the second half to try to give support to struggling backup quarterback Matt Leinart. Boldin limped off the field in the third quarter.

“These guys are working hard,” Whisenhunt said. “Any time you know that it’s a playoff game, guys want to play. That certainly is a good thing, but once again, we’ll see.”

Wide receiver Steve Breaston, who has 55 catches for 712 yards and three touchdowns, likely would step in if Boldin can’t play.

“Anytime one of your best players and … leaders isn’t on the football field it’s tough because you know the effort he gives every week,” quarterback Kurt Warner said.

If Boldin is out, All-Pro Larry Fitzgerald will get even more attention from the Green Bay defense.

“If I were to be a betting man, knowing Q and his toughness, I know he’s going to give it a go,” Fitzgerald said. “I don’t know if he’s 100 percent or whatever, but I just know he’s going to want to go out there and play. He’s worked too hard.”

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