James Conner’s Injury Could Lead to a Multi-Week AbsenceDecember 3, 2018 | insideinjuries | No Comments
James Conner went down with a painful looking ankle/leg injury late in the fourth quarter on Sunday night. After watching a few different angles of the injury, Conner appeared to suffer a high ankle sprain. He was in a lot of pain and unable to put much weight on his right leg. Conner was helped to the locker room and sent for an x-ray while at the stadium, but an MRI wouldn’t come until Monday.
Following the game Coach Tomlin reported that Conner was dealing with a lower leg contusion. This doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with whether or not he did any ligament damage to the ankle as an x-ray will only show damage to the bone, not the ligaments. His comment tells me that Conner didn’t suffer a leg fracture, which is good news, but he is dealing with a contusion, which can be painful to play through.
An MRI will paint a much clearer picture of Conner’s exact injury, but there is some early optimism that he avoided a serious ankle injury. If it’s just a contusion, Conner could be back on the field in a week or two, but that seems unlikely based on the mechanism of his injury. This looked like a classic high ankle sprain, with his ankle getting pinned as he was tackled. A high ankle sprain needs a minimum of four weeks to fully recover. It’s possible for Conner to try to return in around two weeks, but he would be limited and his risk of re-injury would be incredibly high.
Right now our algorithm is picking up a grade 2 ankle injury. That puts him firmly in the High Injury Risk category. If the Steelers want him to be healthy for the playoffs, he needs to miss at least the next two weeks, even if the MRI showed a relatively mild sprain.