Steelers RB Benny Snell to resume practicing after missing 3 games with injury
James Conner’s availability for the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday is unknown, but coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday rookie running back Benny Snell might have a role when his team faces the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
Snell, who has missed three games because of arthroscopic surgery on his knee, is expected to practice this week, Tomlin said Tuesday at his weekly news conference.
“We’ll get him on the field and see what he looks like,” Tomlin said.
Tomlin confirmed reports wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is dealing with a knee injury in addition the concussion he sustained in the Steelers’ 21-7 loss at Cleveland on Thursday.
“The (concussion) protocol is the first and foremost thing he’s dealing with,” Tomlin said.
Wide receiver Diontae Johnson and backup outside linebacker Ola Adeniyi also remain in concussion protocol.
Snell’s return would provide a boost to one of the main injured position groups on the Steelers offense. Conner missed two games with a shoulder injury before aggravating it in the first half Thursday night against Cleveland.
Jaylen Samuels, Trey Edmunds and Tony Brooks-James got carries in Conner’s absence. The Steelers waived Brooks-James this week and signed running back Kerrith Whyte from the Chicago Bears practice squad.
If Snell suits up against Cincinnati, he would give the Steelers a somewhat proven commodity at running back. He had 28 carries for 118 yards, including a 75-yard performance in Week 6 against the Los Angeles Chargers, prior to his injury.
“We’ll be focused on his ability to execute and execute in great detail,” Tomlin said. “He’s got a two-pronged thing he’s got to answer. Not only health, but game readiness from a detail and knowledge standpoint. That’s a reasonable process for a young guy.”
The Steelers finished the game in Cleveland with James Washington, Johnny Holton and Tevin Jones, who was making his NFL debut, as the team’s only healthy wide receivers. The Steelers have since added Deon Cain from the Indianapolis Colts practice squad. They also signed two wide receivers to the practice squad.
In other injury news, cornerback Artie Burns (knee) could be limited in practice early in the week. Backup defensive lineman L.T. Walton, who has not dressed for a game since rejoining the Steelers earlier in the season, has a meniscus tear in his knee that will require surgery.
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .