Cardinals' Wells returns to practice, but only in limited duty

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Rookie running back Beanie Wells returned to practice, sort of, as the Arizona Cardinals gathered for their final five days of training camp in the pines of northern Arizona.

Wells took part in individual drills but, to his surprise, was held out of the offense-versus-defense part of Sunday's late afternoon workout.

Age: 21

Height: 6-1 Weight: 228

College: Ohio State

Experience: Rookie

"I thought I was practicing today," he said, laughing. "I did, but they didn't give me any reps."

Arizona's first-round draft pick out of Ohio State had not practiced since he sprained his right ankle in his first workout after signing with the Cardinals two weeks ago.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt says he kept Wells out of the team portion of the workout because he didn't want to rush the player back too fast.

"We don't want to have a setback," Whisenhunt said. "I think Beanie's going to be begging to get some reps off here in the near future, so be careful what you wish for, right?"

Tim Hightower is Arizona's No. 1 running back, with Jason Wright the backup pending Wells' return.

Wells said the only time the ankle gave him trouble was when he was slowing down while running wind sprints at the finish.

"He did a lot of stuff on the field today from the individual work and that's good," Whisenhunt said. "We'll see how it reacts. I don't anticipate that we'll get a negative reaction out of it, and we'll be able to progress it further as the week goes."

Whisenhunt indicated Wells could play Saturday night against San Diego, even if his practice is limited this week.

"Even if he gets a very little bit and he's ready to play, then he'll play," the coach said. "We'll just limit what he can do, just to get him the reps in the game."

Wells said he initially was frustrated when he was hurt when a defender rolled on his leg late in his first practice after arriving at camp Aug. 1.

"Because you know I had that whole 'injury bug' stigma from college. To get hurt here on a freak play the first day, I was devastated," Wells said. "But you know I had a lot of great guys around me, coach Whis and (running backs) coach (Curtis) Modkins and all the players, keeping my spirits up and making sure I'm on top of things, not letting me get too down about the situation."

Meanwhile, wide receiver Steve Breaston sat out Sunday's practice after injuring his right knee in last Thursday's 20-10 loss to the Steelers in a Super Bowl rematch in Pittsburgh.

Breaston has a sprain, "but that's not really the thing that's causing the issues," Whisenhunt said.

"He's got a bone bruise from where he fell on it," Whisenhunt said. "Just the swelling from the bruise in his knee is what's causing the issue, so it's really just a day-to-day thing. As soon as we can get the swelling out of it, he should be OK."

Breaston is the No. 3 receiver behind Pro Bowlers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin who also returns punts and kickoffs. Whisenhunt would not rule him out of the San Diego game.

Reserve wide receiver Early Doucet remains sidelined with a sprained left shoulder, but Whisenhunt thinks he will be back soon.

"He was anticipating doing something today but it bothered him just a little bit so we were cautious," Whisenhunt said. "I think he'll start working in some individual drills this week. We'll see how it goes. Maybe he'll be ready to go (Saturday) as well."

Backup cornerback Michael Adams sat out practice after spraining an ankle against the Steelers.

Whisenhunt liked what he saw after giving the players two days off following the Steelers game.

"Usually when you get a full two days off like we did and they come back in, it's tough," he said. "But it was a focused group today, so I'm encouraged."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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