Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin is still questionable for Sunday’s wild-game game against the Green Bay Packers with a high ankle sprain and will likely be a game-time decision.
Boldin, who is also treating a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, has been getting treatment virtually around the clock. He’s caught 84 passes for 1,024 yards this season.
“You play the game hard, you’re going to get injured at some point,” Boldin told The Arizona Republic. “I’m just thankful I didn’t tear anything.”
Coach Ken Whisenhunt says Boldin’s participation will likely come down to the wire.
“He’s doing a good job. He’s progressing well,” Whisenhunt told The Associated Press, “but we won’t know until Sunday.”
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (knee) and free safety Antrel Rolle (thigh) participated fully in practice Friday, as did defensive end Calais Campbell (thumb) and starting right guard Deuce Lutui (back).
Tight end Ben Patrick and special-teams ace Sean Morey, each of whom missed time with concussions, also are expected to play.
“There’s no way I’d sit out this game,” said Lutui, who missed practice Wednesday and Thursday. “You only have so many opportunities and to get a step closer to the big game (the Super Bowl) is huge.
“How can I sit out when everybody in this room has some kind of ice on something?”
As we have reported, it would be huge if Boldin couldn’t play in Sunday’s playoff game at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Without Boldin, or with him at less than 100 percent, the Cardinals lose their biggest strength – the best three-receiver set in the NFL. The Packers can also protect their biggest weakness – Jarrett Bush.
Regardless of whether Boldin plays, Charles Woodson will cover Larry Fitzgerald. Without Boldin, the Packers can move Tramon Williams to cover Steve Breaston, the Cardinals third receiver, which is at worst an even matchup and at best, advantage Packers. If Boldin is close to 100 percent by Sunday, Bush will be forced to cover Breaston, and that most certainly will provide the Cardinals with an advantage.
Late Friday, The Arizona Republic Reported that Boldin’s time with the Cardinals may be near an end. This is the final year of his contract, and Boldin has unsuccessfully tried to get an extension the past three years. The paper reports it’s more likely Boldin will be traded than re-signed in the offseason.
“Do I worry about it? No,” Boldin said. “Whatever happens, happens. I’ll be all right either way, if something happens here or if it doesn’t.”
The Cardinals should have no complaints about Boldin’s production this season, but he is pushing 30 and has played just two full seasons in seven years because of injuries. Arizona is also already paying fellow wideout Larry Fitzgerald $10 million a year and it’s not clear if the team can afford to pay Boldin anywhere near that.
And while the Cardinals have found a way to win without Boldin, his teammates would rather not have to try.
“You don’t replace guys like that,” quarterback Kurt Warner said. “You can’t just plug somebody else in and get the same productivity and the same leadership and the same competitiveness and all those things he’s brings to the table.”