The Steelers had their first practice of the week today in preparation for Sunday's game against the Broncos and they had a number of players that did not practice. JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee), James Conner (ankle), Diontae Johnson (toe), Stefen Wisniewski (chest), David DeCastro (knee), Alejandro Villanueva (illness) and Stephon Tuitt (Achilles) did not practice. Ben Roethlisberger and Maurkice Pouncey, both a coach's decision, also did not participate in Wednesday's practice.
Zach Banner (knee) posted a video on Twitter last night saying that he'll have surgery on Friday and will miss the rest of the season. Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reported yesterday that the initial diagnosis for Banner was a torn ACL, but Banner did not disclose his injury during the video.
"Injuries always concern you, especially when it's the guys protecting you," Roethlisberger said when talking about Banner's injury. "I felt absolutely horrible for Zach. He busted his butt to get out here this year, to be in great shape, to be our starter. He earned that job. It wasn't given to him, he earned it. The first game I just felt bad. We texted last night. I told him I am thinking about him, praying for him. His story is not done yet."
It's still early in the week, so we don't really have a good indication of whether Conner will be available for Sunday's game. But if Conner can't go, the team is confident in Benny Snell Jr. taking over the load.
"We're confident in whoever it may be," Roethlisberger said. "I'm really proud of the way Benny stepped up and filled in for James (on Monday night). He ran the ball hard, picked up some blitzes. I missed him on a pass, unfortunately, out of the backfield there early in the game, which I think would have been a big play."