Steelers’ Smith-Schuster limited, Conner practices in full


Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was downgraded to limited in practice on Thursday, though it’s unclear if that will affect his status for Sunday.

Smith-Schuster, who was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, is attempting to work his way back from a three-game absence due to a knee injury.

Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Media reported that Smith-Schuster left practice early. ESPN’s Brooke Pryor reported Smith-Schuster is still expected to play Sunday night against Buffalo, “barring any future setbacks.”

The team did not issue a formal comment on the reported early departure for Smith-Schuster, who has 38 catches for 524 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games this season. Those totals are significantly less than those of 2018, when he recorded 111 catches for 1,426 yards and seven scores en route to a Pro Bowl selection.

The Steelers (8-5) host the Bills (9-4) on Sunday night, seeking their fourth straight win and their eighth in nine games as they look to maintain hold of a wild-card spot in the AFC.

Running back James Conner was a full participant for the second day in a row on Thursday after sitting out three games with a shoulder injury.

“I just want to be out there competing,” Conner said. “These games are crucial. They are critical for us in the position we are in. We are just trying to control our own destiny.

“I am just out there ready to run some plays again.”

Conner has rushed for 390 yards and four touchdowns on 102 carries in eight games. He also has 30 receptions for 242 yards and two scores. A year ago, he totaled 1,470 total yards and 13 touchdowns while earning a Pro Bowl appearance.

Fellow running back Jaylen Samuels was a full participant in Thursday’s practice after sustaining a groin injury in Pittsburgh’s 23-17 victory over Arizona on Sunday.

“I am feeling fine, I was a little sore this weekend,” Samuels said. “I felt good today. Went out there and practiced, was full-go. I am ready to go.”

Tight end Vance Johnson went from not participating on Wednesday to limited participation Thursday. He is recovering from a concussion.