Hartings MIA

<b>LATROBE - </b> Steelers center Jeff Hartings was missing in action Tuesday as he traveled to Alabama to see renowned specialist Dr. James Andrews about his troublesome knee.

Andrews was the doctor who performed the arthoscopic surgery on Hartings' knee last December.

"Jeff hadn't really been back to see Dr. Andrews since the surgery.. and it just hasn't been feeling right, so he went down to see him," said head coach Bill Cowher.

Hartings has been bothered by the knee, which he injured last season, causing him to miss four games, throughout training camp, missing half of the team's scheduled practices.

He played with the first team offensive line in Saturday's preseason game at Detroit, but the knee has continued to bother him. Cowher said Hartings is expected to return to Latrobe Wednesday. Harting's absence left the Steelers thin at center, as Chukky Okobi missed practice for the second day in a row with an ankle sprain.

Kendall Simmons, who just returned to practice Monday after sitting out while getting his diabetes under control, was forced into action as a center and botched several snaps. Cowher, however, kept his composure regarding the botched snaps considering the situation. To make matters worse, Tuesday's practice was cut short by about a half-hour by a thunder storm that blanketed the area.

Others who didn't practice Tuesday were QB Tim Levcik and guard Calvin Collins.

Wide receiver Lee Mays (shoulder) returned after missing just one day. Joey Porter highlighted Tuesday's session during one-on-one blitz pickup by beating Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala and spinning Cowher - who was serving as the QB - twice in a circle, much to the delight of his teammates. Cowher nearly lost his sunglasses on the play. Given the state of team's offensive line, blitz pickup by the backs and tight ends may become a staple of everyday practice.

Dale Lolley

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