Cards WR Boldin practices, but status for Sunday uncertain

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Anquan Boldin butted heads with teammates in practice to test his surgically repaired sinus and jaw on Wednesday.

He passed that test, but the Arizona Cardinals wide receiver said after a limited workout that he was uncertain whether he would play Sunday at Carolina.

"Everything felt good," Boldin said. "I went out and kind of head-butted some guys to try to see how I feel. I didn't feel any pressure from it, so it felt good for the first day."

The Cardinals revealed details of the surgery to repair the damage from a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit from New York Jets safety Eric Smith on Sept. 28.

Not only was Boldin's sinus fractured, he also had his upper jaw knocked out of place. Doctors had to cut the jaw bone on both sides, then move it back into alignment and secure it with permanent plates.

Wires inserted to hold the jaw together during healing were removed after three weeks. That's three weeks sooner than the procedure normally is done, Boldin said.

"We'll look at how he does this week and how he feels," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "I think it's premature to say anything on Wednesday, but I know that it was good to see Anquan running, catching, doing a lot of things in practice. He looks good. We'll see how it goes."

Quarterback Kurt Warner said it looked like Boldin "hadn't missed a beat."

Warner said he would be surprised if Boldin wasn't able to play this weekend "but at the same time I think he's going to be smart and make the right decision."

Boldin was hit as he went up for Warner's pass in the end zone in the waning seconds of the Cardinals' 56-35 road loss to the Jets. Boldin sat out Arizona's home victories over Buffalo and Dallas, then had the team's bye week to allow further healing.

Steve Breaston, who looked good in relief of Boldin, was one of the players grabbed for the head-butt test.

"He asked me what I was doing," Boldin said with a laugh. "I told him I was just trying to get a feel for it."

Warner said the team feels better just knowing Boldin is back on the field.

"It's just a huge comfort level for all of us to know that he is in there," Warner said, "that we have our leader back."

He acknowledged he was shaken when he saw Boldin crumple to the ground against the Jets. Smith was fined $50,000 and suspended for a game because of the hit.

Warner was asked if he will have memories of that injury when he's throwing to Boldin.

"I have to hope that it won't cross my mind," he said. "I have no idea. Obviously it was scary for me and it affected me, but I've got to be able to just play football and help this team win and not think about those things."

Boldin repeated that his trademark ultra-physical style will not change, and he won't be slowed by concern of further injury.

"My feeling is if it's going to happen, it's going to happen," he said. "I can't just go the whole game worrying about it and then nothing happens and you haven't played to your full potential."

He said he will know whether it's the right time for him to return.

"You have to listen to your body. That's the best indicator," Boldin said. "Your body will let you know if you can go. It will also tell you if it can't."