Mike Tomlin: JuJu Smith-Schuster’s return to practice “just a start”

Las Vegas Raiders v Pittsburgh Steelers
Getty Images

The Steelers surprised many when they designated JuJu Smith-Schuster to return from injured reserve on Thursday. The receiver was previously thought to be out for the rest of the season after suffering a shoulder injury that required surgery in October.

But Smith-Schuster was on the field for the day’s practice and has not yet been ruled out of Sunday’s contest against the Chiefs. The Steelers have 21 days to activate Smith-Schuster, should they continue to advance in the postseason.

“He’s worked hard in rehabilitation and gotten himself to this point and we simply started the 21-day window,” head coach Mike Tomlin said Thursday, via Teresa Varley of the team’s website. “We’ll look at him, see how he feels and check his level of conditioning, things that we normally do when people get into that 21-day window. It’s just part of the process. It was just a start.”

For what it’s worth, teammate Diontae Johnson said Smith-Schuster looked smooth” in his first practice in months.

“I’m happy he is back,” Johnson said. “If he gets a chance to play, I’m going to be excited for him, to see him do what he does, which is make plays. It was good to see him out there.”

Smith-Schuster caught 15 passes for 129 yards in five games before suffering the shoulder injury.