The Pittsburgh Steelers have now released their second official injury report of Week 16 ahead of their Sunday afternoon road game against the New York Jets and the Thursday offering includes a mix of good and bad news.
Practicing fully on Thursday for the Steelers were wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee), tight end Vance McDonald (concussion), and cornerback Artie Burns (illness). Smith-Schuster was previously listed as a limited practice participant on Wednesday so it appears as though there’s some hope that he’ll be able to play Sunday against the Jets after missing the team’s last four games.
“I’m hopeful,” Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said of Smith-Schuster possibly playing on Sunday against the Jets after Thursdays practice, per Brooke Pryor of espn.com. “He’s practicing. I don’t know from the training staff, we’ll find that out later. It’s great to have him back out practicing.”
Randy Fichtner on if he's confident he'll have JuJu Smith-Schuster on Sunday:
"I’m hopeful. He’s practicing. I don’t know from the training staff, we’ll find that out later. It’s great to have him back out practicing."
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) December 19, 2019
As For McDonald, he’s now practiced fully two days in a row, He missed the Steelers Week 15 game with a concussion. Burns was listed on Wednesday as not practicing due to an illness so it appears he’ll be available on Sunday should he ultimately be needed.
Added to the injury report on Thursday by the Steelers after they failed to practice earlier in the day were cornerback Joe Haden (foot), tight end Nick Vannett (illness) and guard Ramon Foster (not injury related). It will now be interesting to see if there’s anything to Haden’s foot injury. As for Foster, he was likely just given his usual veteran day off for the week. Vannett will hopefully be able to resume practicing on Friday.
After being given Wednesday off to rest, tackle Alejandro Villanueva (not injury related), inside linebacker Mark Barron (not injury related), center Maurkice Pouncey (not injury related), guard David DeCastro (not injury related), and outside linebacker T.J. Watt (not injury related) all practiced fully on Thursday, according to the team’s daily injury report.