JuJu Smith-Schuster took exception with a report that his ‘knee is a mess’

Morning Sports Update

Smith-Schuster said that his knee “feels great.”

JuJu Smith-Schuster report
JuJu Smith-Schuster speaking with reporters during Patriots training camp. AP Photo/Steven Senne

JuJu Smith-Schuster denies report: During a recent NBC Sports Boston segment in which the Patriots’ wide receiver group was being discussed, Sports Illustrated reporter Albert Breer offered a striking assessment of JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Signed in the offseason to replace Jakobi Meyers (who left New England to sign with the Raiders), Smith-Schuster is expected to play an important role in the Patriots’ offense in 2023. But according to Breer, he’s an injury risk.

“The underrated story here: JuJu Smith Schuster’s knee is a mess, and that thing could explode at any point,” said Breer. “So, you almost have to keep an extra receiver because of that.”

The Patriots eventually decided to keep six receivers, the most since 2019. Still, the decision isn’t necessarily related to Smith-Schuster’s status (especially given the report that Tyquan Thornton is headed to Injured Reserve).

Speaking to Karen Guregian of MassLive, Smith-Schuster vehemently denied Breer’s comment.

“I don’t think my knee is a ticking time bomb,” Smith-Schuster told Guregian. “If anything, it’s something that’s getting stronger every day.”

The issue regarding Smith-Schuster’s knee injury dates back to the 2023 AFC Championship game (when he was still a member of the Chiefs). The 26-year-old receiver exited the eventual win over the Bengals, but — despite only limited participation in ensuing practices — did feature in Super Bowl LVII (hauling in seven receptions for 53 yards).

Following the Chiefs’ Super Bowl win, Smith-Schuster said that a combination of surgery and a trip to Japan forced him to rest for a period, but that he’s returned over the summer and hasn’t been held back.

“From the clean up surgery, and traveling to Japan after the Super Bowl, I needed some time,” Smith-Schuster explained. “There was some swelling after a six-hour flight, but it’s good now. It feels great. I haven’t missed practice since [the start of training camp].”

New England apparently concurred, having signed him to a three-year contract in March with a reported $16 million in guaranteed money.

Along with DeVante Parker, Smith-Schuster is seen as a starting wide receiver heading into the Week 1 opener against the Eagles on Sept. 10.

Trivia: The University of Southern California, where JuJu Smith-Schuster played in college, has produced five No. 1 overall NFL draft picks in its history. One of them was a wide receiver. Can you name him?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He was part of a team that won Super Bowl XXXVII, though it was not with the team that originally drafted him.

Scores and schedule: The Red Sox lost to the Astros 7-4. Houston completed the sweep to keep Boston 6.5 games behind the final wild-card spot.

Elsewhere, the Revolution defeated the Red Bulls 1-0 at Gillette Stadium. New England remains undefeated at home in MLS league matches in 2023, and stays second in the Eastern Conference standings.

More from Boston.com:

A new record: Nebraska volleyball played in front of 92,003 fans in a 3-0 win over Omaha on Wednesday. It set a new world record attendance mark for a women’s sporting event.

Rob Gronkowski was impressed: The former Patriots tight end took in a match at the U.S. Open and appeared to be happy with the proceedings.

On this day: In 1990, the Red Sox defeated the Yankees 7-3, but the real story was Boston’s decision to trade for relief pitcher Larry Anderson.

Though the 37-year-old Anderson would pitch well down the stretch (posting a 1.23 ERA), he blew the save in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Athletics.

And more importantly, the Red Sox would come to regret the player that was traded in exchange for Anderson: Future Hall of Fame first baseman Jeff Bagwell.

1990 Jeff Bagwell Trade

Daily highlight: A wild sequence from Adrian Mannarino — that included a fantastic between-the-legs shot — culminated with a satisfying forehand winner for the Frenchman. He want to win the match and advance at the U.S. Open.

Trivia answer: Keyshawn Johnson