Steelers running back James Conner, tight end Vance McDonald and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster all missed their second straight day of practice on Thursday as the Steelers prepare to host division rival Baltimore this Sunday.
Conner suffered an ankle injury in the team’s Week 4 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night and was eventually able to return to that game, but has not practiced since. Conner would be replaced by Jaylen Samuels in the starting lineup if he’s unable to participate in Friday’s practice.
Smith-Schuster played the entire game against the Bengals, but was listed on the team’s injury report on Wednesday after he missed practice with a toe issue. Smith-Schuster had injured his toe and missed practice because of it earlier this season, but has not missed any game time. It’s not clear if it’s the same injury or a new injury that kept him out of practice this week. James Washington is the most likely option to replace Smith-Schuster, if necessary.
McDonald injured his shoulder in Week 3 against San Francisco and has yet to return to practice. New acquisition Nick Vannett replaced him in the starting lineup on Monday.
Steelers did get some good injury news on Thursday. Defensive lineman Cam Heyward returned to practice after missing Wednesday’s session. Heyward suffered a quad injury on Monday against Cincinnati.
Inside linebacker Vince Williams was a full participant in practice for the second consecutive day as he attempts to return from a hamstring injury.
Backup linebacker Anthony Chickillo (plantar fasciitis, right foot) has also missed the team’s first two practices after head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that he could potentially return to action this week.
Fullback Roosevelt Nix is expected to miss this Sunday’s game with a knee injury.
Linebacker Mark Barron and center Maurkice Pouncey, who were given Tuesday’s practice off, returned to work Wednesday. Guard Ramon Foster was given Wednesday off. None of those players are injured.