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Stallworth, Boldin Hoping For Good Health



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Now at the end of the Ravens' first passing camp, it's a consensus that the Ravens' wide receiver unit should be significantly improved in 2010.

But with that said, there's an "if" attached. That's if Anquan Boldin and Donte' Stallworth can stay healthy.

While any player can get injured at any time during football, it's more of a concern for Boldin and Stallworth considering their injury histories.

Thus, the wide receivers are taking all the necessary precautionary steps this offseason while crossing their fingers for good luck.

"I know it's been a major problem throughout my career," Stallworth said. "But you can't really prevent injuries because they can come whenever.

"What you can do, is to do some pre-maintenance work that can really minimize the possibility of an injury. That's what I'm really trying to do. Hopefully all the work I've been doing will show on the field and I can finish the year on a healthy note."

Stallworth rattled the tally of games he has missed due to injury off the top of his head – 17 over a seven-year career.

And while that's not a gargantuan number, "It's 17 too many," Stallworth said.

The 29-year-old speedster said it took him four years to figure out how to take care of his body properly. During that time, he missed eight games with the New Orleans Saints. He most recently missed five games during 2008 with hamstring issues, a common pest for wide receivers.

These days, Stallworth has an ironclad plan.

It starts with his diet, which doesn't include any fast food or fried food. He eats lots of protein (chicken) and pasta, but not after 9 p.m. Then there's the physical part, which includes a deep-tissue massage twice a week and a good stretch after practice every day just to make sure all the body parts are aligned.

Stallworth said he also puts in extra reps in the weight room trying to strengthen his hamstrings.

"It's a whole process," Stallworth said. "Everything is kind of a link in the chain. Every day there's something you can do. When you start feeling good you can't slack off."

Boldin has also fallen victim to the injury bug in years past. He's missed 21 regular season games and three playoff contests (including two last year) during his seven years in Arizona. He has battled knee, ankle, hamstring and head injuries over the past couple years.

The literal knockout blow that Boldin took during the 2008 season is an example of why the Pro Bowl receiver is susceptible. When you play as physical as Boldin does and aren't afraid to stick your nose into dangerous areas, you're bound to get hurt sometimes.

But Boldin said he isn't going to change his style.

"That's been a big part of my game, going over the middle, breaking tackles and run after catch," said Boldin, who also has a special diet and gets massages and full body stretches twice a week.

"You take care of yourself as much as possible, but football is just a physical sport. In this league, you learn to play with pain and learn to play injured. If I'm able to go, I'm going to go."

While they're both perfectly healthy now, Stallworth and Boldin will get their share of bumps and bruises throughout the upcoming season. They just knock on wood and hope it's nothing too serious.

"I'm really just trying to string together practice-after-practice and then once the season starts game-after-game," Stallworth said. "Hopefully, by the end of the year, I'm there for enough [games] to get us to our goal."

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