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Steelers Injury Updates

Steelers Expect James Conner, Ramon Foster to Return to Play on Thursday vs. Browns

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PITTSBURGH — The Steelers and running back James Conner are expecting that he’ll be able to play this Thursday when the team visits the Cleveland Browns, but he may not be 100 percent.

Conner, who was injured late in the Steelers’ Week 8 win over the Miami Dolphins, missed his second straight game on Sunday, but said he anticipates playing on Thursday in Cleveland.

“I’m making a lot of progress on it and I think I’ll be good to go,” Conner said on Monday. “I can’t make any guarantees, but as of right now, I’m feeling good and things are looking very confident for me playing Thursday.”

Conner suffered an AC joint sprain. The AC joint is the mechanism that allows people to move their arms upward and over their head. With the injury, he lost strength, and more importantly, that range of motion that has prevented him from doing his job.

“The game I was out vs. the Colts, Jaylen [Samuels] had 13 receptions,” Conner said. “Earlier on in the week, it was hard for me to get my arm above my head. Had that been me, maybe I wouldn’t have caught all those balls Jaylen did.”

The injury is similar to the one that cornerback Joe Haden suffered in Week 1 against the New England Patriots. Even though he did not miss a game, it took him several weeks of being limited in practice before he was fully healed. Similarly, Conner might not be at 100 percent when he does return to the lineup.

“It’s going to be pain management,” Conner said. “Play through it.”

Head coach Mike Tomlin said that he’s optimistic that Conner and left guard Ramon Foster will be able to return to action on Thursday.

“We full comfortable about his ability to be available to us, as we do Ramon Foster,” Tomlin said. “We have to get through the week in that regard.”

Tomlin was less than optimistic about the chances of injured running back Benny Snell, Jr. (meniscus) and fullback Roosevelt Nix (knee) rejoining the lineup. Additionally, three more players were injured on Sunday: Wide receiver and kick returner Ryan Switzer suffered a back injury, outside linebacker Ola Adeniyi a hip injury and outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo a rib cartilage injury.

Tomlin did not offer a prognosis for those players, but said the short week makes it difficult for them to prove their readiness.

“There won’t be a lot of opportunities through the course of the week for those guys to work into the rotation or show their availability.”

The Steelers did not practice on Monday, but gave a simulated injury report that listed Conner as a full participant, Foster as limited and the other five injured players as non-participants.

Steelers Gameday

Alex Highsmith Needs MRI after Ankle Injury Suffered vs. Browns

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PITTSBURGH — Steelers rookie linebacker Alex Highsmith suffered an ankle injury that will require an MRI in Sunday’s playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Highsmith left the game in the first half and was seen limping on the Pittsburgh sideline. He made an attempt to return to the game, but was unable to continue playing and did not see the field at all in the second half.

In-game, the Steelers announced that Highsmith was doubtful to return with an ankle injury. After the fact, head coach Mike Tomlin said that Highsmith suffered a high ankle sprain. Highsmith’s father posted on Twitter early on Monday morning that Highsmith will require an MRI on his injured ankle.

Given that Highsmith was able to walk and even run in short bursts after the injury, it does not seem likely that it will impact his offseason training plans.

The team’s third-round draft pick out of Charlotte, Highsmith was thrust into a starting role after starting outside linebacker Bud Dupree suffered  an ACL injury that required surgery.

On the season, Highsmith played in 16 regular season game and made five starts. He finished with 48 tackles, five for a loss, six quarterback hits, one interception and one pass defended.

With Dupree set to become an unrestricted free agent and unlikely to return, Highsmith should be expected to retain his starting role in 2021.

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Steelers Gameday

Steelers OLB Alex Highsmith Leaves Game with Ankle Injury, Doubtful to Return

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PITTSBURGH — Steelers outside linebacker Alex Highsmith has left the team’s Wild Card Round playoff game against the Cleveland Browns with an ankle injury and is doubtful to return, the team announced.

Highsmith suffered the injury in the first half and attempted to return to play, but was unable to continue.

He was replaced on the field by a combination of third-year backup Ola Adeniyi and Cassius Marsh, who was signed from the Indianapolis practice squad in December.

Highsmith had been replacing starter Bud Dupree, who was lost for the season to an ACL injury.

In the regular season, Highsmith appeared in all 16 games and made five starts. He had two sacks, five tackles for loss, one interception and one pass defended.

The rookie out of Charlotte was the Steelers’ third-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.

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Steelers Injury Updates

Steelers Injury Updates: JuJu Smith-Schuster Practiced Fully Friday, Chris Boswell Limited

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are relatively healthy entering their opening round playoff matchup with the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, as only kicker Chris Boswell was listed on the team’s injury report as being less than a full participant in practice on Friday.

Boswell was limited on Friday as he continues to recover from the groin injury that has forced him to miss the last two games. He was also limited on Wednesday, but was a full participant during Thursday’s session.

Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) returned to the practice field Friday after sitting out on Thursday. He had practiced fully on Wednesday as well, but was newly added yesterday.

Defensive end Isaiah Buggs (illness) was also added to the injury report Thursday, but was a full participant on Friday.

Safety Terrell Edmunds (shoulder), cornerback Steven Nelson (knee), nose tackle Tyson Alualu (ankle) and linebacker Vince Williams (quad) were all full participants during Friday’s practice session as well, positioning the Steelers to be healthy heading into Sunday’s playoff game against the Browns.

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