The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: How much time if any will running back James Conner miss due to his leg injury?
As if things are not bad enough for the Pittsburgh Steelers at the end of last night’s game, James Conner, their starting running back, ended up suffering a lower leg injury while making a play to gain a first down on a checkdown pass in the fourth quarter of a game they were trying to bring back to a tie.
Random footnote here, but yes, this did technically count for Ben Roethlisberger as another fourth-quarter comeback, though obviously he doesn’t get a game-winning drive since…they didn’t win. But he did lead a comeback, even though they were up by 16…
I digress. Conner may have had some big gaffes in recent weeks, but he is still a critical part of this football team, and he added his 11th and 12th rushing touchdowns on the season last night as evidence of that. He finished the game with 60 yards on 15 carries and 14 more yards on three receptions in addition to the two scores.
Following last night’s game, the second-year back passed 900 rushing yards on the season and is on-pace for over 1200 on the ground, but that will obviously be a pace put in jeopardy if he has to miss time. And the Steelers haven’t much liked to use their other running backs, seemingly no matter the circumstances.
The injury looked more serious after it happened—and as he very gingerly walked down the stairs to enter the locker room—but the aftermath suggests that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Still, we have a lot more to learn, including how the injury might have swelled overnight, to determine if he might be ready for the Raiders on Sunday.