The Pittsburgh Steelers are so banged up in the backfield, they even called the New York Jets about former Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell's availability at the NFL's trade deadline. With starting rusher James Conner injured, the third-year local product is reportedly not ruling himself out of Pittsburgh's Week 10 matchup with the Los Angeles Rams.
Per 93.7 The Fan's Andrew Fillipponi on Twitter, Conner is “status quo” for Week 10 and “doesn't want to rush back and risk” further damaging himself.
James Conner says status quo for this week. He's NOT ruling himself out for this week. Doesn't want to rush back and risk doing more damage to shoulder though.
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) November 4, 2019
The 24-year-old Conner missed Pittsburgh's Week 9 close home victory over the Indianapolis Colts, bringing their record back to .500. Trey Edmonds led the team in rushing on Sunday, recording 73 yards on a dozen carries. The Steelers' 2014 draft fourth-round selection Benny Snell Jr., from Kentucky, was out, too, hurting the team's rushing abilities, but they won anyway.
The concern, though, is whether Conner will be healthy enough to play next week at home against the visiting NFC defending conference champion Rams. Conner is nursing a shoulder injury, and while he leads the Steelers in rushing yards (380) and touchdowns (4), the team should not want to further harm Conner long term by forcing him when he is not ready.
After the Rams, the Steelers have a relatively week schedule, creating noise that they could sneak into the playoff picture in the AFC Wild Card despite losing franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and having to go with second-year gunslinger Mason Rudolph. Pittsburgh plays the Cleveland Browns twice, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Arizona Cardinals, and the New York Jets.
However, without a healthy Conner, Pittsburgh's backfield is definitely depleted of talented rushers.