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Cardinals' Boldin, Rodgers-Cromartie miss practice with injuries

Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt tried to be cautious in his team's regular-season finale to protect his players from injury.

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt tried to be cautious in his team's regular-season finale to protect his players from injury.

Instead, Whisenhunt had two important players on the sideline with injuries from the game when the team went back to work Wednesday. A third was limited with a broken thumb.

Three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin didn't practice because of a sprained left ankle, and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a Pro Bowl pick in his second NFL season, was out with a bruised left kneecap.

Defensive end Calais Campbell practiced on a limited basis after breaking his left thumb.

All three injuries occurred during last Sunday's 33-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the team the Cardinals host in an NFC wild-card playoff game this Sunday.

Boldin is important, but the Cardinals are 5-1 without him the past two years, including a 33-13 playoff victory at Carolina last season.

Rodgers-Cromartie is crucial as the Cardinals' "cover" cornerback. He leads the team with six interceptions.

Rodgers-Cromartie said he needs at least some practice to prepare for the Packers' high-powered passing game.

"If I ain't going to practice tomorrow, then I'm not going to play," he said.

Rodgers-Cromartie, who was hurt on the third play of last Sunday's game when he landed on a receiver's cleats, said he can run forward. The pain comes when he plants the leg and tries to cut.

"It's a day-to-day thing," he said. "It ain't getting no better, it ain't getting no worse."

Boldin, who surpassed 1,000 receiving yards for a franchise-record fifth time, stayed in last Sunday's game into the second half to try to give support to struggling backup quarterback Matt Leinart. Boldin limped off the field in the third quarter.

Campbell, a towering defensive lineman, played into the fourth quarter, when he hurt his thumb.

"These guys are working hard," Whisenhunt said. "Any time you know that it's a playoff game, guys want to play. That certainly is a good thing, but once again, we'll see."

Rodgers-Cromartie's backup is 5-foot-8 Michael Adams, who had problems after he came in the game Sunday.

Wide receiver Steve Breaston, who has 55 catches for 712 yards and three touchdowns, is prepared for his role to change if Boldin can't play. It wouldn't be the first time.

"Experience helps a lot going into certain situations where you're basically thrown in there," Breaston said. "I've been here when Larry (Fitzgerald) and Anquan were hurt. People had to play a bigger role in the offense. The biggest thing now is to just prepare myself like I'm going to play that position."

If Breaston moves into Boldin's spot, that would mean Early Doucet would become Arizona's third receiver, with Jerheme Urban also available.

"Anytime one of your best players and your leaders isn't on the football field, it's tough because you know the effort he gives every week," quarterback Kurt Warner said. "You know what you can expect from him, and there's always a question mark when you have to have somebody else step in for those kinds of guys."

If Boldin is out, All-Pro Fitzgerald would receive even more attention from the Packers' defense.

"If I were to be a betting man, knowing Q and his toughness, I know he's going to give it a go," Fitzgerald said. "I don't know if he's 100 percent or whatever, but I just know he's going to want to go out there and play. He's worked too hard. We've been through some really bleak years around here. To have the opportunity to play in the playoffs, I know it means a lot to him. It means a lot to all of us."

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