Cardinals' Pro Bowl receivers hurting as Seahawks game nears

TEMPE, Ariz. -- With Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald hobbled by injuries on Wednesday, the status of the Arizona Cardinals' Pro Bowl wide receivers for Sunday's game at Seattle on Sunday remains uncertain.

Boldin didn't practice after dislocating the second toe on his left foot in the third quarter of last Sunday's 27-21 victory over Cleveland.

Cardinals grounded

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Both of Arizona's starting wide receivers could miss Sunday's game against Seattle.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR
Games missed: 1

Catches: 75

Yards: 1,060

TDs: 6

Anquan Boldin, WR
Games missed: 3

Catches: 48

Yards: 552

TDs: 6

Fitzgerald was limited in practice with a left groin strain that kept him out of the Cleveland game.

Boldin was still trying to find a shoe insert that might allow him to take part in at least a portion of practice.

"We've been through two different orthotics already," he said, "just trying to find that perfect fit to where it's comfortable and supportive at the same time."

Boldin, who earned his second Pro Bowl berth last season, already had been hurting with a hip injury that sidelined him for three games. Despite lingering soreness in the hip, he has played in the last six games but probably won't be at full strength until next season.

Boldin is trying to avoid surgery on the foot.

"It's a situation where in order for it to dislocate ligaments have to be torn," he said. "Hopefully that will heal up with scar tissue. We'll see."

Team trainers told Boldin they had never seen a toe injury like the one he has.

Usually it's the big toe that's hurt, but any injury of that kind is extremely painful to a football player.

"A dislocated finger you pop it back into place, put a splint on it and go out there and play," Boldin said. "You don't run on your fingers, though. Especially playing receiver, pushing off the way I do, it's difficult."

Those requirements are slowing Fitzgerald's return, too.

"I'm a jumper," Fitzgerald said. "I have to have a lot of flexibility in my legs. That's a big part of what I do."

Still the NFC's leading receiver even though he missed one game, Fitzgerald said all last week he would play.

But in workouts before the game, it was apparent that the groin was bothering him too much.

"I wouldn't have been effective the way I was feeling, but I'd have played," he said, adding that team doctors decided it would be better for him to sit it out.

Their absence made Bryant Johnson the Cardinals' No. 1 receiver down the stretch during the victory against the Browns. Johnson, a first-round draft pick for Arizona in 2003, caught a team-high six passes for 56 yards against the Browns.

Kurt Warner completed passes to eight receivers in the game. Sean Morey had two catches for 29 yards. Rookie Steve Breaston, the team's talented kick returner, had his first two NFL receptions, including a 19-yarder to keep Arizona's critical final drive alive.

"As you saw in the game Sunday, those guys step up as we expect them to," Boldin said. "Those guys are waiting. I know they don't want any of us to be hurt, but they're taking advantage of the opportunities they've been given, so I'm proud of them."

On the positive side, Warner practiced without a brace for the first time since tearing a ligament in his left (non-throwing) elbow against Carolina on Oct. 14.

"It's getting better," Warner said. "It's obviously not ready to do that for games, but it's getting stronger, so I just wanted to try it out and see how much discomfort, how much pain there was."

He said he feels only "a little bit" of pain.

"I'm optimistic," he joked, "that at some point in the rest of my NFL career that I can play without that brace."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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