TAMPA, Fla. -- Hines Ward isn't cutting or turning yet on a sprained right knee -- an injury that sometimes takes weeks and weeks to heal. He's not running pass patterns or sprinting with much speed.
The one question hanging over the AFC champion Steelers as their practice week begins is whether the wide receiver who owns most of the franchise's career pass-catching records will play with a sprained right knee.
To Ward, there's no question at all.
"I'm playing," he said. "I would have played if the game had been last week.
"I don't have a brace on, I'm walking around fine," Ward added. "I'm not going to be 100 percent, I'm not going to trick anybody. But I think I'm going to be able to go out there and perform like I'm used to."
"People ask me that question, and I want to smack them," Roethlisberger said. "It's Hines Ward -- he's going to be out here. It's the Super Bowl."
Before then, he'll have some additional help with his rehabiliation.
Ward shipped a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to the team hotel -- yes, just like the device Michael Jackson once used. Ward believes it stimulates the production of red blood cells and will hasten his recuperation from the same type of injury that sidelined running back Willie Parker for a month this season.
"Unlike probably the other two, and I think definitely the first one, this one up to this point was really like business as usual," Warner said. "I really felt like it was just another road trip. The whole Super Bowl thing hasn't hit me yet."
"It's a little muggy out here," Whisenhunt said, "But fortunately we've got a week to get used to that."
"Anytime you have a player that has Kurt's credentials, that has had the season that Kurt's had throughout this year, it commands respect," Whisenhunt said.
Whisenhunt also said he wants his team to enjoy the experience, but "we can't lose sight of the fact that we're here to play a game." He knows that trouble lurks in the party environment that leads up to Sunday's game.
"I don't think you can talk to them about it enough," Whisenhunt said. "I've talked to them about it and will talk to them about this again. That's something that's very important. ... The only thing is give them as much information as you can about it. It really goes back to the type of players that we have. They've done a really good job of handling this so far."
Morey said that after Tuesday's media day, the team can focus "on the task at hand."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press