James Conner still isn’t fully healthy.
The 23-year-old running back has been out since he sprained his ankle against the Chargers on Dec. 2. The Steelers had reportedly been hoping Conner could return this week against the Saints, but he told reporters Wednesday he still wasn’t 100 percent.
“These high ankle sprains are deceiving,” Conner said, via The Athletic. “I can walk around fine and not limping around but when I am on the field, cutting and stuff is, you know, I am not ready yet. … I am not going to go out there less than ready. I’m day to day with it.”
Conner has had a breakout season filling in for Le’Veon Bell, who will miss all of 2018 after holding out over a contract dispute. The second-year back has averaged 4.5 yards per carry and tallied 12 touchdowns on the ground in 11 games for Pittsburgh.
Conner, who was named to his first Pro Bowl earlier this week, has also been a pass-catching threat out of the backfield as he has recorded 467 receiving yards and a score this season.
Rookie running back Jaylen Samuels tallied 142 yards on the ground and added another 30 receiving against the Patriots last week in Conner’s absence. Pittsburgh picked up a 17-10 win in that game.
The Steelers will enter their matchup in New Orleans on Sunday in first place of the AFC North with an 8-5-1 record.