Rudolph appeared to suffer the injury with less than three minutes remaining in the third quarter of Sunday's 16-10 loss, when he took the snap under center and stumbled as he stepped back for the handoff. He tried to stand up and was drilled by Jets defenders, landing on his left shoulder. Rudolph entered the blue medical tent at the end of the drive and never returned to the game.
Though coach Mike Tomlin said Rudolph will not have surgery, a source confirmed an NFL Network report that the quarterback did have to have his sternoclavicular joint reset. Tomlin also added that center Maurkice Pouncey, who sustained a knee injury on the same drive Rudolph was injured, will be out against the Baltimore Ravens. Tomlin did not know if Pouncey's injury would keep him out an extended amount of time if the Steelers make the playoffs.
Running back James Conner's availability is also in doubt after he injured his thigh on his final carry in the second quarter, Tomlin said.
Rudolph took over for Devlin "Duck" Hodges on Sunday after the undrafted rookie threw his second interception of the game in the second quarter. With Rudolph's season-ending injury, Hodges and former Broncos first-round pick Paxton Lynch are the only remaining quarterbacks on the roster.
Rudolph is the second Steelers quarterback to end his season on IR, joining Ben Roethlisberger, who was ruled out for the season after a Week 2 elbow injury.
The designation ends a roller-coaster season for Rudolph, who took over for Roethlisberger as the starter, beginning with the Week 3 game in San Francisco. He went 5-3 in eight starters, completing 176 of 283 passes for 1,765 yards, 13 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.
Rudolph suffered a concussion on Oct. 6 against Baltimore when Earl Thomas' helmet collided with Rudolph's jaw and appeared to knock him unconscious. He missed the next start against the L.A. Chargers, but returned for the next game against Miami.
Rudolph was at the center of the brawl in Cleveland on Nov. 14, when he got in a scuffle with defensive end Myles Garrett that ended with Garrett ripping off Rudolph's helmet and hitting the quarterback with it.
Rudolph was benched a week later in Cincinnati after he threw one first-half interception in the end zone and was ineffective in the first drive of the third quarter.
Asked if Hodges' recent interceptions were a product of the throw or the decision-making, Tomlin laughed.
"Does it matter?," he said. "Seriously. We've got to take care of the football. You can make a bad decision but a ridiculous, awesome throw and it's irrelevant. You know what I mean? I mean that in all sincerity. We've got to take care of the football and some of that minutiae is less important about intentions relative to performance."
The Steelers promoted center J.C. Hassenauer from the practice squad on Tuesday to fill Rudolph's roster spot for the final regular-season game.