USA Today

James Conner sustained a left ankle injury during the first half of Monday night’s game against the Giants, ESPN’s Maria Taylor reported during the second half. Conner, the Steelers’ starting running back, was ruled as questionable to return to the game. 

Conner gained nine yards on six carries and caught two passes for eight yards before leaving the game. In Conner’s absence, the Steelers leaned on second year running back Benny Snell, who eclipsed the 100-yard rushing barrier midway through the fourth quarter. Snell, a 2019 fourth-round pick out of Kentucky, surpassed Jaylen Samuels as Pittsburgh’s No. 2 running back on the depth chart following training camp. 

A 2018 Pro Bowler, Conner — who is slated to become a free agent next offseason — has been hampered by injuries since joining the Steelers in 2017. After missing the final three games of his rookie season, Conner missed three games in 2018 and six games last season due to injury. Conner has proven to be a good player when healthy, rushing for 1,581 yards and 16 touchdowns on 363 carries for an average of 4.4 yards per carry. He has also significantly improved as a blocker and as a receiver after initially struggling at both during his rookie season. 

Despite Conner’s absence, the Steelers appear to be on their way to a Week 1 win, as Pittsburgh took a 25-10 lead with just over five minutes remaining. 


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