JuJu Smith-Schuster Ruled Out vs. Packers with Hamstring Injury

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2017

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 26:  JuJu Smith-Schuster #19 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action against the Indianapolis Colts during a preseason game on August 26, 2017 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has a hamstring injury that will prevent him from playing in Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers.

Per Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers have already ruled out Smith-Schuster for Sunday's game.

Head coach Mike Tomlin announced earlier this week that Smith-Schuster had a "small" hamstring issue that was being monitored.

Pittsburgh invested a second-round pick in Smith-Schuster following a standout career at USC that included 213 catches for 3,092 yards and 25 touchdowns across three seasons. He's turned in a fantastic rookie season thus far, ranking second on the Steelers with 568 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

Injuries are starting to become a concern for the first-year contributor, though. The 21-year-old California native missed time during training camp due to a concussion as well as ankle and knee problems. He entered the league's concussion protocol again leading up to Week 8.

With Smith-Schuster out for at least one week, Martavis Bryant should see the biggest uptick in targets. Eli Rogers and Darrius Heyward-Bey could also receive more playing time, though there are limited looks available since running back Le'Veon Bell is also a big factor in the passing game.

The early returns from Smith-Schuster have been promising, especially in terms of getting open in the red zone. Staying healthy will be a key factor as he attempts to solidify himself as a reliable weapon in the Steelers' aerial attack as they move closer to securing a playoff berth.