The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team who has been battling injuries since the start of the regular season. Despite having a healthy four-game preseason, the Steelers have been bit by the injury bug since the games started to count.
Numerous soft tissue injuries, mainly groin injuries, have dominated the injury reports, but the shoulder injury to JuJu Smith-Schuster in Week 5 have been the most severe. In the win over the Denver Broncos Smith-Schuster was hit in the shoulder and immediately began to show signs of pain.
As medial personnel tended to Smith-Schuster, it became apparent this wasn’t just another shoulder injury. After the game Mike Tomlin said Smith-Schuster was being evaluated at a local hospital, pointing directly to the severity of the injury. After reports Monday of the team planning on putting Smith-Schuster on Injured Reserve (IR), it is now being reported Smith-Schuster underwent surgery on the shoulder, and will miss the rest of the season.
This per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network:
Sources: #Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster had surgery last night on his injured shoulder and is out for the season. The procedure was successful. A tough loss for a Pittsburgh offense that is showing signs of hitting its stride.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 11, 2021
This news means Smith-Schuster will indeed be placed on IR, but without any expectation of his return. The Steelers will likely fill his roster spot with either Zach Banner (knee) or Anthony McFarland (unknown), both who are eligible to come off IR at any time.
As for the wide receiver depth, the Steelers are fortunate this is one of their deepest position groups on the team. If the team can get James Washington, who missed Week 5 with a groin injury, back on the field, they likely will be just fine moving forward. However, it puts an extra onus on the health of the group moving forward.
Smith-Schuster hadn’t had a great season prior to being injured Sunday. In fact, he was only able to muster the following stats throughout the regular season:
With Smith-Schuster set to be a free agent after this season, you have to wonder if he has worn a black and gold jersey for the last time.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the Steelers as they make Smith-Schuster’s move to IR official, and prepare for the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6.
It is now being reported by Brooke Pryor of ESPN Smith-Schuster did NOT undergo surgery, but could still be out for the season.
JuJu Smith-Schuster did not have shoulder surgery last night, per source. Injury still appears severe and could very well be season-ending, but the Steelers wide receiver did not undergo surgery Sunday night.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) October 11, 2021
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports Smith-Schuster suffered a separated shoulder, and could miss up to four months. The injury will require surgery this week. This would likely end his season.
Steelers’ WR JuJu Smith-Schuster dislocated his shoulder, is undergoing surgery later this week and is expected to be sidelined about four months, which likely would end his season, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 11, 2021
For more on on the Smith-Schuster situation and the Steelers options moving forward, check out the BTSC Breaking News podcast below.