Contrary to a report from Ian Rapoport on Monday suggesting that the injury to James Conner was rather minor, Mike Tomlin announced that the running back would be forced to miss the upcoming game against the Oakland Raiders with an ankle issue that is much more significant than first believed.
When speaking to the media at his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Tomlin confirmed that Conner had actually suffered a sprained ankle rather than a contusion.
“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.”
While Conner is not the only player the medical staff will be monitoring this week, Tomlin seemed to be somewhat confident that most of the names carrying injuries would be able to suit up in Week 14.
“Kam Canaday went down in the game with a knee, he was able to return. It’s probably going to slow his preparation here at the early stages of the week, but we are hopeful that he’ll be a participant. Chickillo sustained an ankle in the game, it may limit his preparation during the course of the week and we’ll see where that leads us. Marcus Gilbert’s still working his way back from injury, hadn’t checked in on his status. I think he’s downstairs right now working. We’ll see where his participation is and where that participation might lead us. He’s got to be getting closer.”
“A couple of other guys had nicks and so forth in the game. Rosie Nix had a shoulder. I don’t think that’s going to stop him from being available to us. Ryan Switzer’s in the protocol, part of getting out of the protocol is physical labor, so he’ll be given an opportunity to do some of those things. Optimistic about his inclusion, but we’ll let that process run its course.”
Jaylen Samuels will get the start at running back with Conner sidelined and the newly promoted Trey Edmunds will provide depth at the position behind Stevan Ridley. Although the loss of Conner might not be so acutely felt against Oakland, his potential absence in Week 15 would be a major concern with Pittsburgh set to face the New England Patriots.