(Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images)
With JuJu Smith-Schuster undergoing shoulder surgery in October, it was believed that he would be out for the rest of the season. That's not the case, however, as Smith-Schuster was activated off the injured reserve list on Saturday afternoon and will play on Sunday night against the Chiefs in a wild-card round game at Arrowhead Stadium.
It was announced on Thursday that Smith-Schuster started practicing and had a chance to play on Sunday night. With JuJu Smith-Schuster being activated off the injured reserve list, the Steelers released punter Corliss Waitman in a corresponding move.
Smith-Schuster's recovery from a gruesome shoulder injury that he suffered in Week 5 after being hit by Kareem Jackson on a jet sweep, is truly remarkable.
"God answered my prayers & I’ve recovered from my season-ending shoulder injury earlier than expected," Smith-Schuster tweeted on Saturday afternoon. "I can’t believe I get another chance to take the field with this team and play in a playoff game to keep our season alive. Steelers Nation, #HereWeGo!"
In five games this season, Smith-Schuster had 15 receptions for 129 yards (8.6 average) and no receiving touchdowns. He had three carries for nine yards and a rushing touchdown, which came in Week 2 against the Raiders.
It's expected that Smith-Schuster will be on a pitch count, but he could provide a boost for the Steelers' struggling passing game.
"I don't have an answer to the possibilities," Ben Roethlisberger said on the WDVE Morning Show on Friday. "I thought he looked awesome. Only he knows how it felt. He had a pretty significant injury. The way JuJu plays is physical. He could boost this offense, even just a few plays."
Fellow wide receiver Diontae Johnson thought Smith-Schuster looked like his normals self at practice this week.
"I thought he looked smooth," Johnson said. "He still has great hands, a natural catcher. Big hands, strong. Just seeing him run around, he is still JuJu at the end of the day and it's exciting.
The day after it was revealed to Smith-Schuster that he would be out for the rest of the season, Smith-Schuster spoke at his foundation's luau event and was emotional about the news that he received. "I cried that night because you never know what the future holds for you." The future now holds a playoff game for Smith-Schuster on Sunday night.