The Pittsburgh Steelers definitely won’t have running back James Conner for their Sunday afternoon road game against the Oakland Raiders as the second-year University of Pittsburgh product was officially ruled out for that contest this past week with an ankle injury that he suffered late in the team’s home loss last Sunday night. Will the Steelers have Conner back next Sunday for the team’s home game against the New England Patriots? Three supposed NFL insiders weighed in on that question Sunday morning and gave different answers with none of them being definitive.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network told what he knows about Conner’s potential status for Week 15 earlier this morning during a video segment.
“Kind of like a high ankle sprain here. My understanding is that they’re [the Steelers] going to be extremely cautious,” Rapoport said of Conner. “I would not be surprised, based on what I know, if he misses next week as well. They’re going to reevaluate this on Monday but that at least seems to be the the direction they are going.”
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports had a more optimistic report Sunday morning on Conner and his potential availability for next Sunday again st the Patriots.
“The Steelers believe that star running back James Conner could be back as soon as Week 15 after injuring his ankle in a loss to the Chargers last week,” La Canfora wrote Sunday morning. He then added, “Coach Mike Tomlin quickly ruled Conner out for this weekend’s trip to Oakland, but the Steelers do not anticipate that being the case again next week, sources said. They truly view the injury as week-to-week, and will likely wait to see how much Conner can do in practice on Wednesday and Thursday next week before deciding on his status for Week 15.”
Adam Schefter of ESPN also took a stab at Conner’s Week 15 status Sunday morning.
“Steelers running back James Conner, who is out Sunday because of an ankle sprain, has a chance to return next week to play the New England Patriots, a league source tells ESPN,” reported Schefter. “The source added that if this were the Super Bowl this week, he believes Conner could have and would have played, giving the Steelers some hope that the NFL’s fifth-leading rusher has a reasonable chance to play in next Sunday’s big AFC matchup against the Patriots.”
As you can clearly see, none of these two NFL insiders really know what’s going to happen with Conner next Sunday and I’m willing to bet the Steelers really don’t know right now at this stage, either. All we do know right now is what Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told us this past week about Conner.
“James Conner’s injury is probably a little bit more significant than we initially thought. He’s got an ankle sprain, not a contusion, so he’ll be out this week, Tomlin said this past Tuesday.
Tomlin was later asked if Conner is currently dealing with a high ankle sprain.
“I don’t know if you’d describe it as a high ankle sprain, it’s an ankle sprain. Much more than a contusion it was initially thought to be,” Tomlin said.
Tomlin will likely next provide an update on Conner on Tuesday and from there we’ll need to wait and see if he’s able to practice any on Wednesday. If unable to play next Sunday against the Patriots the Steelers will likely have Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley divvy up the backfield duties once again like both are expected to do a few hours from now against the Raiders.