Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Haden Continues to Test His Sore Leg

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Haden Continues to Test His Sore Leg

Article excerpt

Steelers cornerback Joe Haden lined up with the first-team defense at practice Wednesday afternoon, but he and the team won't know until later in the week if he can play Sunday against the New England Patriots.

Haden, who has missed the past four games with a fractured fibula, is going to test his leg in a more rigorous manner Thursday and Friday. The practice Wednesday was a walk-through.

"It feels sore, but we'll figure it out," Haden said. "It's getting there. I was limited today a little bit in practice. It was more of a walk-through. I'll be able to tell a bit more tomorrow."

Haden had been running in the pool and doing light exercises before this week. Starting Monday and into Tuesday he ran on the indoor field at the Steelers practice facility. He also did some back pedaling and some cutting.

"Tomorrow I will be able to tell more going through individual and team drills, see how my leg holds up," he said. "I think it was good I went out there on Monday and Tuesday, doing those things. It was a little bit of a mental thing. I think I got that out of the way the first two days. Now I just want to be able to cover someone, stop, react and see how my leg feels."

When Haden was healthy for the first half of the season the Steelers had one of the NFL's best pass defenses. Since he exited the lineup, the Steelers have given up 263.5 passing yards per game, 63 yards above their season average. They also have given up big plays.

The game against the Patriots likely will decide the No. 1 seed in the AFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Haden doesn't want to hurt the team by coming back too early.

"We're in the playoffs," Haden said. "We have stuff to look forward to. I don't want to go out there half-assed and be out there hurting the team, hurting myself. Just knowing that we have games coming, knowing I'm on my way back. . I'm just trying to push it. I want to play if I can play. …

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