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Steelers' Ward returns to practice

Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward returned to action Tuesday following offseason knee surgery. Ward participated in his first official workout during the team's second OTA (organized team activity), taking the field for a scheduled number of reps, coach Mike Tomlin said.

"We're cautious about the number of reps. We rep counted him a little bit,'' Tomlin said.

• Defensive end Aaron Smith, who underwent biceps surgery, isn't "fully recovered,'' according to Tomlin. "He's hitting the sled, participating in individual (drills).'' ... Starting running back Willie Parker, recovering from a broken leg suffered last season, took some reps yesterday ... Rookie running back Rashard Mendenhall still hasn't recovered from a hamstring injury he suffered during the team's mandatory minicamp earlier this month. "I feel good. We're taking it day-by-day,'' said Mendenhall, the Steelers' first-round draft pick. "We want to make sure everything's OK.'' ... Guard Chris Kemoeatu was sidelined with a hamstring injury ... Tackle Marvel Smith was excused for personal reasons.

• Rookie linebacker Bruce Davis will miss the rest of the OTA's because of an agreement between the NFL and NCAA that limits a player to one minicamp with a pro team while his school is still in session. Davis, a third-round draft pick from UCLA, will miss all of the offseason workouts except for the minicamp. Final exams end at UCLA June 13. The Steelers' final OTA session is June 12.

• The other Steelers rookie affected by the rule is free agent cornerback Roy Lewis of Washington. Final exams at Washington also end June 13.

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