Hamstring to keep Ward out of Steelers' next game

Hines Ward's hamstring is going to keep him out of the Steelers' next preseason game and maybe the whole preseason. Still, Pittsburgh's No. 1 receiver is expected to be ready for the regular-season opener against Miami on Sept. 7.

Steelers coach Bill Cowher announced Wednesday that Ward, cornerback Deshea Townsend (broken right thumb) and backup tight end Jerame Tuman
(hamstring) would miss Friday's preseason game in Philadelphia.

Ward practiced Monday and Tuesday but cut short both workouts
when the hamstring acted up.

"We're still encouraged by his progress, even though it's going
slow. And that's the truth," Cowher said.

Townsend was injured during a pass coverage drill Tuesday and
isn't certain if he will play the opener. He will be replaced by
Bryant McFadden or Ricardo Colclough.

McFadden has been pushing Townsend, yet Colclough moved ahead of
him during practice Wednesday -- a development that surprised
McFadden, a second-round draft pick last year.

Colclough, a second-rounder in 2004, had up-and-down camps in
the past, Cowher said, but has sustained his play during this

"I'm not ready to say that he's there," Cowher said. "But I
do like the manner in which he's playing."

Most of the offensive and defensive starters are expected to
play all or most of the first half Friday night, but none will go
into the third quarter. There will be exceptions, with quarterback
Ben Roethlisberger and Willie Parker likely to get fewer snaps than most

Meanwhile, Cowher said Wednesday the Steelers likely wouldn't use a short-yardage specialist this year, meaning Willie Parker, the starter, might get the ball
frequently inside the 10-yard line, something that rarely happened
last season when Jerome Bettis was brought in for goal-line situations.

"I can't say right now there's been one person like there was
with Jerome. And I don't think that's a bad thing," Cowher said.
"That's the way it was last year. This year's a different year."

When camp opened last month, Parker said he wanted to prove he
could handle the short-yardage situations. But Verron Haynes is expected
to keep his job as the third-down specialist.

"Verron has proven to be a very, very good third-down back,"
said Cowher, who has praised Haynes frequently during camp. "I
just think you can never have enough good running backs,
particularly with the way we like to play the game."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.