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Steelers’ JuJu Smith-Schuster ruled out with a concussion

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without their top receiver for the rest of Thursday’s battle with the Browns in Cleveland. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the team ruled out wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for the divisional tilt with a concussion.

In addition to Smith-Schuster’s concussion, the Steelers ruled out running back James Conner (shoulder), cornerback Artie Burns (knee) and outside linebacker Ola Adeniyi (concussion) in the second quarter.

In the second quarter, Smith-Schuster suffered two helmet-to-helmet hits via Browns cornerback Greedy Williams and safety Morgan Burnett. After the back-to-back high hits, Smith-Schuster lay on the ground before being able to walk, under his own power, himself off the field.

Smith-Schuster exited the matchup with two receptions for 21 yards. He entered the game with 36 receptions for 503 yards and three touchdowns on the season.

With both Smith-Schuster and Conner out, the Steelers will play the rest of the mid-week game without their top-two playmakers. They entered halftime down 14-0 to the Browns in Cleveland. They will be kicking the ball after the end of the half.

The Steelers will rely on rookie Diontae Johnson, James Washington, Johnny Holton and Tevin Jones for the rest of the game. At the half, the four have combined for four receptions for 41 yards. They may opt to run a two tight end set for the rest of the game, in turn, prioritizing the usage of Vance McDonald and Nick Vannett.

At 5-4, Pittsburgh is in must-win territory to remain in the AFC playoff hunt. At 3-6, the Browns are playing for their jobs.