Report: Steelers Not Planning To Play WR JuJu Smith-Schuster Against Chiefs

While the Pittsburgh Steelers allowed wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to return to practice Thursday, it appears the former USC second-round draft pick will not play Sunday night in the team’s AFC Super Wild Card game. against the Kansas City Chiefs.

According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday, the Steelers do not plan to play Smith-Schuster at this time, even though he is reportedly healthy enough to play. Smith-Schuster hasn’t played since suffering a shoulder injury in Week 5. He had surgery shortly after sustaining that injury and was later placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Surely that Dulac report doesn’t seem to be worded correctly. Still, I’d be surprised if Smith-Schuster ends up playing Sunday night against the Chiefs. It just feels too soon for him to come back and especially at the end of a week where he would have only practiced twice.

Based on what Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Thursday about Smith-Schuster, the team likely decided to open the 21-day window on Smith-Schuster this week to get him moving again and then go on from there. At no point during Tomlin’s brief news conference on Thursday did it look like there’s a good chance Smith-Schuster will play Sunday night against the Chiefs.

If the Steelers can beat the Chiefs on Sunday night, and assuming they do so without Smith-Schuster being activated, maybe this is an opportunity for the wide receiver to play the following week against the Tennessee Titans in the Round. Divisional.

We’ll have more definitive information on Smith-Schuster on Saturday at 4:00 pm, as that’s this week’s deadline for the Steelers to activate the wide receiver on the 53-man Reserve/Injured list. While stranger things have happened before, I wouldn’t expect Smith-Schuster to get activated on Saturday.

Stay tuned.

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