JuJu Smith-Schuster’s season has come to an end. According to multiple reports, Smith-Schuster had a shoulder surgery that will sideline him for the next four months.
The Pittsburgh Steelers wideout dislocated his shoulder in a 27-19 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The injury resulted from a hit made by Broncos safety Kareem Jackson and required Smith-Schuster to visit a hospital.
The injury represents a tough blow for both Smith-Schuster and the Steelers.
Smith-Schuster accepted a short, one-year deal with the Steelers in the offseason with expectations to have a breakthrough season and then get a major payday in 2022. However, his slow start in 2021, which saw him catch only 15 receptions for 129 yards and no touchdowns, and injury will likely cause his market to cool off once the free agency comes.
Pittsburgh, on the other hand, already struggled on offense and things can go only get worse after they lost one of their most reliable weapons. The team already had James Washington out with the groin injury, while their other wideouts also had issues with injuries at various points in 2021.
JuJu Smith-Schuster entered the league as the Steelers’ second-round pick in 2017 and was considered one of the most talented WRs in the league early on. Sitting as a No. 2 wideout behind Antonio Brown, Smith-Schuster was highly productive in his first two years as a pro and even earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2018 after catching 111 passes for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns.
But after Brown left the Steelers ahead of the 2019 NFL season, Smith-Schuster struggled. The defenses started paying more attention to him as the No. 1 wide receiver, and he has only managed to total 1,512 receiving yards in 33 games since then.