Practice report: Steelers

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Pittsburgh Steelers held their Thursday practice in preparation for Super Bowl XLIII.

On behalf of the Pro Football Writers of America, Peter King of Sports Illustrated was allowed to watch the entire practice and summarized it in the pool report Thursday.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and receiver Hines Ward have been the focus of injury news. There has been speculation that Roethlisberger has a back or rib injury. The team and Roethlisberger said health is not an issue, but King addressed it in the pool report.

"Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger practiced effectively but at times appeared to be trying to stretch his mid-torso region during the team's second full Super Bowl week practice session, held mostly in the rain at the University of South Florida Thursday afternoon," King wrote.

As for Ward, he practiced for the first time since injuring his knee.

"Although he ran at perhaps three-quarters speed, he worked with the regular offense and blocked and caught the ball in midseason form," King observed. "Tomlin said Ward looked 'awesome' and reiterated what he has been saying for the past week: Ward will certainly play Sunday against the Cardinals."