2017 Camp Questions: How Significant Is JuJu Smith-Schuster’s Injury?

The journey toward the 2017 season is now in full swing with the Pittsburgh Steelers having reported to Latrobe for their annual training camp at Saint Vincent College, where they have held their camps for over half a century now.

This is surely the time more than any other in which we find ourselves full of questions that we are looking to get answered, and this also tends to be the best time to get answers to those questions that have been building up over the course of time since the 2016 season ended.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the training camp and the preseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: How significant is JuJu Smith-Schuster’s injury?

The unfortunate part—virtually the only downside—of the return of football, and thus actual news to write about, is that often enough the news that we will be covering is regarding injuries. Yesterday we were dealt with another injury to cover, this time (or again) with rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster on the brunt end of the bug.

The rookie’s third injury since training camp opened could prove to be the one of the longest duration. While the team never confirmed the nature of the injury (evidently a knee), Head Coach Mike Tomlin said that it doesn’t appear to be an injury that will be as serious as would be indicated by how it looked.

Still, he is heading in for an MRI today, which should help answer the question, and will be the answer all of the fan base will be waiting for. But we also have to consider what this injury will do with respect to the rookie’s ability and opportunity to contribute on offense early in the season.

While he seems to have already been ahead of the curve, in spite of his young age, getting work at multiple positions and significant reps, in spite of already having missed practice time, the Steelers now have nearly a full deck at wide receiver.

With Martavis Bryant returning to practice last week, and Justin Hunter this week, topped off by Sammie Coates finally coming off the PUP list yesterday, the Steelers now have everybody working here aside from Demarcus Ayers in Smith-Schuster’s absence.

Bryant, Hunter, and Coates are all going to command some playing time, and all have more experience than does the rookie. If he misses significant practice time, it is possible that he falls behind on the proverbial moving train and loses opportunities for work early on this season.

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