Steelers James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster Expected to Return to Practice

Noah Strackbein

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers could see two major additions to their offense this week as they enter Week 15 with the hopes of James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster possibly returning. During his Tuesday press conference, Mike Tomlin confirmed that Pittsburgh hopes to begin practicing their two offensive Pro Bowlers as they come off of injury. 

Tomlin isn't sure what either player's situation will be throughout the week, but said he expects both to see the field throughout practice. As for when, he isn't certain, but said it should be sooner in the week than later.

"I don't know what their anticipated practice participation is tomorrow, as I stand here right now," Tomlin said. "Both guys are expected to participate in practice at least to some capacity and probably sooner rather than later in the week. And we'll look at the quality of that work and the ramifications of the aftermath of that work in terms of talking about their availability."

The Steelers backfield could be limited this week as they're also dealing with an injury to Jaylen Samuels. Samuels left Week 14 in Arizona with a groin injury and is being evaluated by the team. 

Tomlin didn't have any information and said he's not certain what to expect from Samuels. 

If Conner is able to play this Sunday, Tomlin says the Steelers will utilize him. "we all know what James is capable of," he said as he addressed what the backfield situation will be like is Conner is able to return this week.

Vance McDonald has entered the concussion protocol after leaving Sunday. He'll work his way through the week, but could be a candidate for missing Week 15. 

Nick Vannett was the only tight end available for the Steelers after McDonald left in Arizona. Zach Gentry could see additional time while McDonald works through the protocol.