Rookie running back James Conner suffered what Mike Tomlin called a sprained MCL in yesterday’s loss to the New England Patriots. Today, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo is reporting Conner is likely to need surgery.
He notes that there is no clear timeline for his recovery but is out “at least a few weeks.” It’s certainly possible the Steelers decide to put him on injured reserve with currently only two healthy running backs on the 53, Le’Veon Bell and Fitzgerald Toussaint.
Should they make that transaction, it seems likely the Steelers will call up Terrell Watson from the practice squad. Watson began the year as the team’s #3 RB, short-yardage back, and kick returner, before the team swapped him for Toussaint.
If his season is over, Conner will have finished it with 32 carries for 144 yards (4.5 average). He rushed three times for 13 yards Sunday. Statistically, his best game came against the Ravens in their first matchup carrying the ball four times for 26 yards. The Steelers selected him in the third round of this year’s draft.
UPDATE: According to Gerry Dulac of the PPG, Conner will have knee surgery Wednesday and is expected to miss at least the final two regular season games.