Let the Pittsburgh Steelers battle at left tackle begin.

Max Starks practiced for the first time since suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament seven months ago, while rookie Mike Adams returned to to practice after missing a week with a knee injury.

“They’re valuable guys, and there’s no question they need to be on the grass,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. “Mike got back out there (Thursday) and we're looking forward to Max getting his hat in the ring.”

Both players are still working their way into game shape. Starks, who started training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, admitted Thursday he won’t play in the Steelers’ second pre-season game Sunday against Indianapolis at Heinz Field.

“Not even close,” he said. “This is a gradual immersion back into the offense.”

Starks had a light practice Thursday, just working out in individual drills. He is expected to practice in pads for the first time Friday. He said he is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation, but won't know how well until he experiences some contact.

 “It’s a different intensity level once you put pads on,” said Starks. “Once you get that contact for real, and actually go through it, and see how your knee reacts the next day ... if there’s swelling, if it’s stiff, those are the biggest questions I’m looking forward to getting answered.”

Adams, the Steelers’ second-round pick, endured a full padded practice and worked with the second-team at left tackle. He originally injured his knee in the Steelers' preseason game last Thursday againstPhiladelphia.

Adams said he and Starks worked out together while healing their injuries. The time together led to their agreement that the battle for the starting tackle spot can not be settled until they both participate in contact drills. 

Coaches were impressed with Adams in the early stages of training camp. He earned the start in the preseason opener. But the second-round product from Ohio State struggled, allowing 2.5 sacks on 18 snaps.

His performance is one reason coaches are eager to see Starks in action. 

“I’m still a long way away in my mind," Starks said. "There’s a lot of things that obviously have to be put in order. I have to show enough progress before we get to that point.”

Woodley gives back: LB LaMarr Woodley recently donated $60,000 to the Saginaw Public Schools’ athletic department to give young kids an opportunity to play sports free of charge.

“LaMarr is the kind of guy, he not looking for acknowledgement,” Tomlin said. “The man took $60,000 and provided potentially a lifetime of opportunity.”

Woodley, a former Saginaw High School and Michigan Wolverine, donated the money to cover pay-to-play expenses for athletes in the school district for the 2012-13 school year.

“If there’s one kid that didn’t get an opportunity to play sports and does, imagine if he goes and gets an athletic scholarship, how much that $60,000 helped someone,” Tomlin said.

Injury report: OT Chris Scott missed practice with a minor ankle injury and is considered day-to-day, while rookie LB Sean Spence was also out, dealing with an ankle injury. RB Isaac Redman missed practice with a groin injury, and is also listed as day-to-day.

Follow Steelers RapidReports on Twitter @CBSSportsNFLPIT.