Thursday notebook:

The Pittsburgh Steelers are getting healthier as the week wears on, but the same can't be said of the Baltimore Ravens, who are facing a couple of serious blows to their defense.

PITTSBURGH – Center Justin Hartwig practiced on a limited basis Thursday, but the glue to the Steelers' offensive line doesn't expect the knee injury to keep him out of Sunday's AFC Championship Game.

"I know I'll be able to play with my injury," said Hartwig. "I'll be able to go out there and play. I did a fairly decent job in the last game working with what I had. I'm confident I'll be all right on Sunday."

Hartwig hurt his knee in the first half last Sunday, but came back to play the second half. His work on San Diego nose tackle Jamal Williams went a long way in helping Willie Parker rush for 146 yards.

"We have to keep running the ball if we're going to keep winning in the playoffs," Hartwig said. "It's been inconsistent during the year, but hopefully we get those runs dialed up this week and hopefully get some push and move the pile a little bit."

Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin said Hartwig will practice today.

"We're trying to put him in the best physical shape we can get him in, but at the same time be prepared to play," Tomlin said. "The physical reps he gets (Friday) hopefully will be enough for him."

The Steelers' only other injury concern is strong safety Troy Polamalu, who hurt his calf Sunday in pre-game warm-ups.

"He wasn't limited in any way," Tomlin said of Polamalu's Thursday practice. "He had a pretty good day."


The Baltimore Ravens have played 17 consecutive weeks and their injuries are mounting. The most serious is blindside pass-rusher Terrell Suggs, who injured his shoulder last week and could miss the first game of his six-year career.

"It's really painful," he told Baltimore reporters. "But, you know, sometimes you've got to play through pain."

The expectation from teammates is that Suggs will play, but as Suggs continued talking to reporters his optimism waned.

"If they've got something that can magically stop me from using my shoulder to tackle somebody," he said. "But up until then, I don't know."

Could the injury worsen by playing?

"There is a big chance that it could get worse, especially in a smash-mouth game," he said. "We're not playing Indy. We're not playing a finesse team here. We're playing a team that's got the exact identity as us, so it's going to be a physical game."

Suggs underwent an MRI, but wouldn't reveal the result.

"I can't remember," he said. "I was just so distraught when they told me. It's not good. It's not good. It could be major ligament damage. We just have to wait and see."

Suggs' backup, Antwan Barnes, has already been ruled out of the game. The Ravens could also be without starting cornerback Samari Rolle with a groin injury.

Also missing Thursday's practice for the Ravens were DT Justin Bannan (foot), WR Mark Clayton (thigh), and WR Derrick Mason (knee).


-- Ryan Clark on this week's Steelers practices: "Coach Tomlin has been wanting us to stay loose, not get tight, not over-analyze because it's a championship week, so it's been normal."

-- Tomlin on whether he has a heightened sense of what this game means to Steelers fans: "I don't. I live kind of an isolated life here in Pittsburgh. I go to work and go home. Not that I don't appreciate it. I just don't get an opportunity to witness it first-hand."

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