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Ward having knee, thumb surgeries as he eyes return to Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward will have surgeries on his left knee and left thumb this week, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Wednesday.

Ward has cartilage damage in the knee, an injury he battled since training camp.

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He sustained a torn ligament in the left thumb throwing a block during a Week 2 game against the Tennessee Titans.

Ward said neither injury contributed to him having his fewest receptions (59) since 2000.

"They said it'll feel much better," Ward said of the knee, which does not have an anterior cruciate ligament. "I've been playing for so many years on it and never really had surgery on it. They'll go in there and clean it up a little bit and I'll be fine."

Ward plans to come back for his 14th season, and he told the newspaper he was heartened to hear coach Mike Tomlin say he doesn't want him to retire.

"He just told me it's not even an option, so don't even think about it. He wants me back," Ward said. "I just have to get away. Once I get all my surgeries cleaned up, I'll come back fresh. I'll feel better. I've been playing with that all year long.

"To go out there and still make plays the way I did in the Super Bowl, there's still some playing days left. I'm not going to hang it up just yet."

Ward isn't the only receiver who will have a procedure done. Rookie Emmanuel Sanders will have surgery on the broken left foot he sustained during Sunday's Super Bowl.

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Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) rushes during an NFL football game between the between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)

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