The shoulder injury that forced Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster from the team’s game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday is serious, and could be season-ending, according to multiple media reports.
The team has not given an official update on Smith-Schuster’s status since head coach Mike Tomlin said after the game that Smith-Schuster was taken to a hospital for evaluation. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he was praying for his receiver.
Monday morning, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Steelers expect to put Smith-Schuster on injured reserve and fear he could miss the rest of the season.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network said that the Steelers are waiting for the results of tests to establish a diagnosis, but confirmed that the injury is a major one.
A potential devastating injury. While the #Steelers will wait on all tests, source confirms this is considered a major injury based on the initial diagnosis for Juju Smith-Schuster. https://t.co/b5Re3lkY5N
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 11, 2021
He was injured while running a jet sweep on the Steelers’ final drive of the first half. He was tackled on the play by Kareem Jackson. He was very briefly attended to on the Pittsburgh sideline before being taken to the hospital. He was first announced as questionable to return, before being downgraded to out.
Smith-Schuster had rushed twice for two yards. He did not have a catch on one pass target before his injury. He was replaced as the team’s primary slot receiver by Ray-Ray McCloud, with Chase Claypool also playing there some.
Smith-Schuster has been with the Steelers since he was the team’s second-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. After becoming a free agent for the first time this spring, he re-signed with the Steelers on a one-year contract worth $8 million. He is again scheduled to become a free agent after this season.
He thanked fans for their prayers and for reaching out in social media posts early on Monday morning, saying that “God has a bigger plan for me.”