Center Sean Mahan was in the starting lineup for the Steelers' preseason opener against Philadelphia last week. This week, it's Justin Hartwig's turn. Hartwig, who signed as a free agent, is scheduled to start at center for the Steelers' second preseason game Thursday night against the Buffalo Bills in Toronto.
"I thought (Mahan) did a nice job, as did Justin," coach Mike Tomlin said Monday. "It's running its course. I think we'll have more information as we play on Thursday night."
Hartwig returned to practice after sitting out Sunday with a knee injury.
"It was simply a day-to-day thing. He had some discomfort," Tomlin said. "He came out and was able to fully participate."
Last year, Mahan beat out Chukky Okobi in training camp to become the starting center. Center is the only starting position on the team that hasn't been decided.
• Quarterback Charlie Batch had surgery yesterday to repair the fractured collarbone he suffered in the preseason win over Philadelphia. In a show of support, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger taped Batch's No. 16 on the side of his helmet.
• Defensive linemen lineman Kyle Clement (knee), linebacker Mike Humpal (stinger), safety Ryan Mundy (high ankle sprain) and cornerback Deshea Townsend (groin) didn't practice. Linebacker James Harrison was kicked in the shin during the morning practice and missed the afternoon session. He's expected to return today.
• Tomlin says the status of safety Troy Polamalu (hamstring) remains in doubt. Polamalu is the only player who hasn't practiced in training camp.
"I assume he is (getting closer)," Tomlin said. "But when that will occur, I don't know at this point."
• Defensive lineman Travis Kirschke (back), tight end Cody Boyd (shoulder) and offensive lineman Jeremy Parquet (foot) returned to practice.