Two big injuries in the AFC North

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns received injury scares Thursday night in their preseason finales.

LeftwichLeftwichHardestyHardestyPittsburgh quarterback Byron Leftwich and Browns rookie running back Montario Hardesty suffered left knee injuries in the first half. The extent of both injuries is unknown, but neither player returned to the game.

According to the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, Leftwich will undergo an MRI to determine the damage. Based on reps this summer, Dennis Dixon is the next player in line if Leftwich cannot play. Dixon, who completed his only pass against Carolina on Thursday, did not distinguish himself (two interceptions) in extended action Sunday against Denver. According to Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson, Dixon still is the best choice to replace Roethlisberger during his suspension.

Leftwich was the favorite to start in Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons as Ben Roethlisberger begins his suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.

Browns fans were excited about Hardesty's debut after he missed all of training camp and three preseason games with a right knee injury. But against Chicago on Thursday night, Hardesty was hurt on a 2-yard carry in the second quarter. The second-round pick had a reputation as a talented but injury-prone running back at the University of Tennessee.