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Warner returns from chest injury; Cards' secondary depleted

Kurt Warner returned to Arizona's divisional playoff game against New Orleans on Saturday after missing a the final series of the first half with a chest injury. Two other starters injured for the Cardinals -- cornerback Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie and safety Antrel Rolle -- weren't as fortunate.

Warner left in the second quarter after a hard hit on an interception return, but was back on the field for the Cardinals' first drive after halftime.

Warner was pursuing Will Smith, who intercepted his pass, when he was knocked down by Saints defensive end Bobby McCray on a vicious hit. Replays showed the hit to be legal. Warner stayed on the ground for a while before walking off under his own power, and was initially announced as questionable to return. He was replaced briefly by Matt Leinart.

"I didn't see the guy behind me, he hit me pretty good," Warner said. "I had the wind knocked out of me. I had some soreness all around the rib cage area. The degree of pain isn't horrible, just some pain when I breathe."

Warner said X-rays were negative, and no bones were broken. He finished 17-of-26 passing for 205 yards with one interception.

It was one of three significant injuries for the Cardinals during the first half.

Earlier, the beleaguered Arizona secondary lost two key players. Rodgers-Cromartie left during the first quarter with a sprained left knee. His return was originally listed as doubtful, but he did not return and spent the rest of the game in street clothes on the sidelines, with crutches. Rolle did not return after leaving during the first half with what coach Ken Whisenhunt later said was a concussion. It's unclear when Rolle was injured.

Whisenhunt said the extent of Rodgers-Cromartie's injury wouldn't be known without an MRI exam, although Rodgers-Cromartie told the team's official Web site that he thinks he tore ligaments in his left knee.

As for Warner, the 38-year-old missed a game with a concussion earlier this season, and there's been widespread speculation he is about to retire.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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