Wednesday Practice Report

The Steelers got a scare at practice Wednesday when Chukky Okobi was forced to leave early because of a hip pointer. With starter Jeff Hartings still limited because of a knee injury, the team finished practice with rookie Kendall Simmons working at center.

Head coach Bill Cowher, however, said Okobi, who made his first career start Sunday at Baltimore, is probable to play Sunday at Cleveland and that Hartings will return to practice Thursday. Hartings practiced sparingly Wednesday, as he remains questionable on the team's injury report. Tight ends Jerame Tuman and John Allred, both of whom missed the past two weeks, returned to practice for the first time Wednesday, giving the Steelers five healthy tight ends on their roster.

"We may have to change our meeting rooms between the tight ends and the offensive lines," said Cowher. "It's the way it is. Matt Cushing gives you that flexibility because he's actually a fullback this week. Dan O'Leary basically came in because of the long-snapper situation. It's almost kind of happenstance how that transpired. That's where we are. We've got five of them on our roster."

Jerome Bettis, Chris Fuamatu Ma'afala, and cornerback Chidi Iwuoma did not practice Wednesday.

Bettis is doubtful; Fuamatu-Ma'afala is out the next two weeks; and Iwuoma is probable.

--Dale Lolley


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