Warner practices, expects to play

Updated: November 25, 2009, 8:18 PM ET
Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner went through a full practice on Wednesday and said he plans to play Sunday at Tennessee.

Warner said he passed the required mental tests on Tuesday with "no problems neurologically at all" after sustaining a concussion in last Sunday's 21-13 victory at St. Louis.

"From what they told me I tested better than I did four years ago so I'm just getting smarter with age," he joked after practice.

He said he plans to be careful as he prepares through the week but as of Wednesday all signs were good that he would make his 42nd consecutive NFL start.

"I was out there, went through all my normal reps so that is definitely the plan moving forward," Warner said. "We're sure going to be cautious and make sure day by day nothing transpires, nothing gets worse, but right now that's my plan."

The 38-year-old quarterback's head slammed into the turf on a hit from Rams safety O.J. Atogwe in the second quarter. He stayed in the game to complete the touchdown drive that put Arizona up 21-3 and then left for good.

According to Warner's tally, this is the fifth concussion of his career -- three in the NFL, one in the Arena Football League and one non-football-related while he was in college. All were mild, he said.

Warner said all the recent attention and studies given to concussions in the NFL were factors in his leaving last Sunday's game when he did.

"I think as a player you know that it's out there and you know that people are discussing it and looking into it more and you make the right decision," he said. "I can't tell you five years ago, eight years ago, that I sit out the second half of the game in St. Louis."

He also said his age makes him more cautious.

"I know as a player that's getting toward the end of their career, you think beyond football," Warner said. "You're thinking from a bigger picture than I know I did 12 years ago and that a lot of players do or did before all this stuff is coming out."

On Wednesday, Warner tried out one of the new helmets designed to better protect the head from injury but didn't particularly like it.

"I didn't really feel comfortable with it today," he said. "We're going to keep messing with it and see if I can be comfortable with it."

Otherwise, it's back to the old helmet.

"I've been playing the game for a lot of years and the last time I had any symptoms like this was 2003, so it's been a long time and the equipment's been pretty good to me," Warner said, "so I don't want to just panic and go to something else, but at the same time if there's something better out there, something that I feel comfortable with that can help me, then we'll try that."

Warner said he likes a new but yet-to-be-implemented league rule that requires an outside neurologist to be consulted but said he didn't do so in this case.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Warner shows no sign of mental impairment.

"He was talking about the game, he was talking about the plays he likes. Everything's been normal as far as preparation goes," the coach said. "Everything looks good. I think the question is seeing how he progresses during the week."

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said he's not worried that his quarterback would force the issue and risk further injury.

"Kurt's been playing football probably 25 years and I promise you it's not his first concussion," Fitzgerald said. "If you play football long enough you've had concussions. You've dealt with it. He's not going to do anything to jeopardize himself. Our medical staff is not going to let him do anything to jeopardize himself. Our head coach is not going to let him do anything to jeopardize himself.

"If he's ready to go, he'll play. If he's not, I don't think they're going to let him," he said.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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