The Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Buffalo Bills in Week 15, but still control their own destiny when it comes to the AFC Playoff Picture. As the No. 6 seed the Steelers would be in if the playoffs started today, but they don’t. The Steelers have to win their next two games to control their own destiny and make the playoffs, and there are key players who are injured and could return to help the team win these final two games.
No doubt wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster tops the list with his knee injury which has kept him out of the last four games. Last week he was a full participant on Wednesday, then was scaled back after what most believed was a setback.
Smith-Schuster declared he did not experience a set back, but pushed himself too hard. Regardless of what occurred during the work week, Smith-Schuster missed the Bills game on Sunday Night Football.
Will he be back for the Week 16 game vs. the New York Jets? During Mike Tomlin’s Tuesday press conference he stated how the organization will take a similar approach to the upcoming game as they did prior to Week 15. How Smith-Schuster responds to the workload will ultimately dictate whether he plays Sunday at Metlife Stadium, or misses his 5th game in a row.
Another injury of note would be tight end Vance McDonald who missed last week’s game with a concussion. According to Tomlin, McDonald is still in the NFL’s concussion protocol and will have to go through the motions to be released from the protocol.
Otherwise, Tomlin added how there were no new injuries from the Sunday Night Football game, and that means running back James Conner (shoulder) was able to come out of the game unscathed and healthy for the upcoming game vs. the Jets.
Wednesday is the first reported practice for NFL teams, so be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the team’s injuries as they prepare for their Week 16 grudge match vs. Le’Veon Bell and the Jets.