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James Conner on shoulder: ‘It’s going to take time’

The Steelers running back was forced from the Browns game last week after aggravating his shoulder injury. His status for Week 12 in doubt.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner warms up before playing the Los Angeles Rams at Heinz Field. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers running back James Conner aggravated his AC joint injury in his shoulder on Thursday night against the Browns. In an interview with 93.7 The Fan on Monday, Conner said he thought he could play through the injury. Unfortunately, “the pain was too much.”

Conner says he can’t put a timetable on his return and that he’ll have to “do what’s best for my body and the team, and if that probably means more weeks or games I have to miss, I’m not sure. I can’t put a number on it.”

Doctors tell him that building the muscle around the joint helps, but the ligament needs time to heal. There is nothing official about his status for this Sunday against the Bengals, but listening to Conner talk, it would be negligence by the Steelers to push him to play.

If he doesn’t play, Jaylen Samuels will again take over as the starter, but his ability between the tackles has been lacking this season. That would push Benny Snell to a useful fantasy role, but he is also injured. If he can’t go, it will be Trey Edmunds getting work behind Samuels.

Both Edmunds and Samuels have an excellent chance to have fantasy value against the awful Bengals defense, which allows the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs per game.