Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner is considered questionable to end a three-game absence and play in Sunday’s regular-season finale against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals, coach Mike Tomlin announced Tuesday.
Conner has been battling an ankle injury that has sidelined him for all but one practice over the last three weeks.
“We’ll be watching him close and seeing if he’s going to be a positive contributor to our efforts this week,” Tomlin said during a news conference on Tuesday. “And, obviously, his practice participation and effectiveness will be a major factor in that.”
The Steelers (8-6-1) need a win against the Bengals (6-9) and either a loss by the Baltimore Ravens (9-6) to the Cleveland Browns or a tie in the Indianapolis Colts-Tennessee Titans game in order to advance to the postseason.
Conner sustained an ankle injury in Pittsburgh’s 33-30 setback to the Los Angeles Chargers on Dec. 2. He was injured after being tackled following a reception on a screen pass with 5:08 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The 23-year-old Conner rushed for 60 yards and two touchdowns against the Chargers. He added three receptions for 14 yards.
Conner has 201 carries for 909 yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 games this season. The 6-foot-1, 233-pound Conner also has 52 receptions for 467 yards and one score.
Jaylen Samuels has 54 rushes for 254 yards since being selected by Pittsburgh in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The 6-foot, 225-pound North Carolina State product also has 19 catches for 159 yards and three scores.