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.
Highlights from Steelers Practice 9/18/20
James Conner tested out his injured ankle and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw passes to JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Chase Claypool during practice on Friday, September 18, 2020.
This practice was in preparation for the Steelers week 2 game on Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
Cam Heyward Named NFLPA Community MVP for Week 1
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward has been named NFLPA Community MVP for Week 1.
Heyward was honored for installing his first Little Free Library, a book-sharing box placed in underserved communities around the Pittsburgh area.
Congrats to @camheyward on being named Week 1 #CommunityMVP for installing his first Little Free Library. The book-sharing boxes provide 24-7 access to literacy for underserved Pittsburgh communities while honoring the legacy in education of his late grandfather. pic.twitter.com/uKwbnz28A1— NFLPA (@NFLPA) September 18, 2020
Little Free Library is a non-profit organization that “inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.”
The installation of the book-sharing boxes marks the launch of the Rufus and Judy Jordan Literacy Project, a new initiative of the Cameron Heyward Foundation that will work to promote children’s literacy and honor his late grandparents, both of whom were lifelong educators in Pittsburgh.
Drafted in first round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, Heyward has spend his entire career in Pittsburgh. He is a three-time Pro Bowler, and has twice received First-Team All-Pro honors.
Heyward and the Steelers agreed to a four-year, $71.4 million contract extension on Sept. 6 that will allow him to retire in Pittsburgh and make him the highest-paid defense player over the age of 30 in NFL history.
Highlights from Steelers Practice 9/17/20
The Steelers finally experienced a practice with almost everyone on the roster able to take the field. Only two players did not take part in practice before their week 2 game against Denver.
Alex Highsmith and Minkah Fitzpatrick stood out from the rest on Thursday, September 17, 2020.