Steelers' James Conner Out vs. Bengals with Shoulder Injury

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorNovember 22, 2019

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (30) rushes against the Cleveland Browns during the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
David Richard/Associated Press

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner reportedly will not play in Sunday's AFC North clash at the Cincinnati Bengals because of a shoulder injury.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Friday that Conner is not expected to play in Week 12 after not practicing during the week and added receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster may also be held out of action:

Conner, 24, has rushed for 390 yards and four touchdowns on 102 carries in his third NFL season. He has also caught 30 passes for 242 yards and two scores.

The Steelers' lead back hasn't enjoyed much luck on the injury front this year, as a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder kept him off the field for two games. Conner returned against the Cleveland Browns in Week 11 but left after six touches following a reaggravation.

The 6'1", 233-pounder has been banged up in the past, going on injured reserve on Dec. 29, 2017, after suffering a season-ending MCL injury that required surgery. He also missed three games with a lower leg injury during his Pro Bowl season in 2018.

The ex-Pitt star has been a model of perseverance during his playing career, however. While playing for the Panthers in 2015, Conner suffered a torn MCL that ended his season after just one game. He was then diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma as he recovered from his knee injury.

The Pennsylvania native bounced back in a big way in 2016, gaining 1,392 scrimmage yards and scoring 20 touchdowns. The Steelers picked him in the third round of the 2017 NFL draft.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Without Conner on the field, the Steelers should turn to Jaylen Samuels, a versatile back who played running back, fullback, tight end and wideout for North Carolina State. The second-year pro has rushed for 115 yards on 45 carries and caught 34 passes for 186 yards.

Trey Edmunds and Benny Snell Jr. should back him up. Edmunds is a third-year pro from Maryland, and Snell is a rookie out of Kentucky.