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Pittsburgh Steelers place QB Mason Rudolph on injured reserve

By Connor Grott
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) suffered a shoulder injury during Sunday's loss to the New York Jets. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) suffered a shoulder injury during Sunday's loss to the New York Jets. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 24 (UPI) -- With the final AFC wild-card spot still up for grabs, the Pittsburgh Steelers placed quarterback Mason Rudolph on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, the team announced Tuesday.

Rudolph suffered the shoulder ailment during Sunday's loss to the New York Jets. According to the team, the Steelers activated center J.C. Hassenauer from the practice squad to the 53-man roster in a corresponding move.

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League sources told ESPN and NFL Media that Rudolph had his sternoclavicular joint reset. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters that Rudolph will not require surgery as of now.

The Steelers benched quarterback Devlin "Duck" Hodges during Sunday's matchup against the Jets after he tossed two first-half interceptions. With the Jets holding a 10-0 lead in the second quarter, Tomlin inserted Rudolph into the game.

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Rudolph threw a touchdown pass near the end of the first half to tie the score but was injured on a hit late in the third quarter, forcing Hodges back in the game. The Steelers went on to suffer a 16-10 loss to the Jets.

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Despite his recent struggles, Hodges will be under center as the Steelers fight for the final playoff spot in the AFC. Former Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch will serve as Hodges' backup.

For the Steelers to reach the postseason, they must win at the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday and need the Tennessee Titans to lose at the Houston Texans. Pittsburgh also could make the playoffs with a loss but would require help from multiple teams.

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Rudolph, playing in his second NFL season, has completed 62.2 percent of his passes for 1,765 yards, 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 10 games this year.

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