James Conner, Vance McDonald healing up for Steelers’ game against 49ers
With one day of practice remaining before their game against the San Francisco 49ers, it is becoming clearer which injured players will suit up for the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Running back James Conner (knee) and tight end Vance McDonald (back) were full practice participants on Thursday. Conner did not practice Wednesday and McDonald was limited.
The only player downgraded was outside linebacker Bud Dupree, who was limited with an ankle injury.
Continuing to miss practice because of injuries were cornerback Joe Haden (shoulder), fullback Roosevelt Nix (knee), outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo (foot) and inside linebacker Vince Williams (hamstring). Nix already has been ruled out.
Inside linebacker Mark Barron also did not practice, getting a rest day from the coaching staff.
Haden said Thursday that he expects to return to practice Friday and play Sunday in San Francisco. Haden said his shoulder is “feeling better than last week at this time,” when he also missed practice.
If Williams doesn’t suit up Sunday, that will provide more snaps for first-round pick Devin Bush, who did not start against Seattle in his second NFL game but played 79% of the defensive snaps — all after Williams left in the first quarter.
Bush played 76% of the snaps in the opener at New England.
“He’s going to keep playing for us,” defensive coordinator Keith Butler said. “He’s a young guy, and he’s learning. It’s not like it’s dag-gum above his head. It’s not. He can do this.”
Bush was beaten for a touchdown by Seattle 6-foot-4 tight end Will Dissly in the Steelers’ 28-26 loss.
“He’ll get better and better as the season goes along,” Butler said. “It’s always tough. The game in the NFL is a lot faster than it is in college. It doesn’t matter where you play college, it’s faster. You’ve got to think faster. You’ve got to play faster. There are a lot of things that happen faster that he’s got to adjust to. He will adjust to because he’s got the speed to do it, and he’s got the intellect to do it, too.”
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .