The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the New York Jets on the road on Sunday and according to what head coach Mike Tomlin said during his Tuesday press conference, only two players will begin Week 16 as questionable due to injuries. Those two players are wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) and tight end Vance McDonald (concussion).
“On an injury note, we had no significant injuries from the game and that’s encouraging,” Tomlin said. “Two guys that have missed some time are still questionable. That being Vance McDonald, he’s still in the protocol. I don’t have an update there, but I hadn’t checked today. Usually that includes some element of participation from a practice standpoint as we push through the week.”
Tomlin went on to talk about Smith-Schuster’s possible availability for Sunday against the Jets.
“And JuJu is still dealing with his knee injury,” Tomlin said. “He was able to participate some last week. I think he was a full participant on Wednesday, but had to scale it back as a result of that work. We’ll go through the similar procedure this week. We’ll put him in an environment, we’ll work him, we’ll see the quality that work. We’ll wait and feel the ramifications of that work and then make judgments accordingly accordingly based on performance and, or health.”
On the surface, one would hope and think that McDonald might be able to clear concussion protocol this week and ultimately play Sunday against the Jets. As for Smith-Schuster, we’ll have to see if he can string together a few full practices on Wednesday and Thursday without issue. He might ultimately end the week listed as questionable and wind up being a game time decision. He might also end the week listed as doubtful or worse. In short, it’s hard to speculate if he’ll miss a fifth consecutive game on Sunday.