Ward misses Steelers' practice

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Pittsburgh Steelers' first Super Bowl practice in Tampa was like every other Wednesday workout all season. Wide receiver Hines Ward was on the sidelines.

Ward, wearing a small black brace on his injured right knee, did running and cutting on a side field as the Steelers practiced at the University of South Florida for Sunday night's game against Arizona.

Even if Ward had been healthy, it's almost certain he wouldn't have practiced. The 32-year-old Ward was held out of all Wednesday practices by coach Mike Tomlin to keep him from wearing down during the long season.

Ward is expected to be on the field Thursday, when the Steelers hold their final full-scale practice before appearing in the Super Bowl for the second time in four seasons.

"Hines is playing," Tomlin said. "I'm not worried about him."

The Steelers worked out for nearly two hours -- again, a normal Wednesday practice -- under sunny skies with temperatures in the 70s.

"It was a good start to our week," Tomlin said. "We practiced fast, and I thought we practiced aggressively. But it's like I say to the team after every Wednesday practice: It's a good start, but we've got to be better tomorrow."

Ward sprained his right medial collateral ligament during the AFC championship game against Baltimore on Jan. 18 and sat out most of the final three quarters. He has not missed a game this season.