James Conner injury update: Steelers RB in concussion protocol

The Steelers could be facing a big loss as running back James Conner suffered a concussion after taking a hit Thursday against the Panthers.

Coach Mike Tomlin confirmed after the team’s 52-21 victory that Conner has entered the concussion protocol, according to NFL.com.

The 23-year-old running back was evaluated in the sideline medical tent during the third quarter after taking a hit on a play. He returned briefly before exiting the game early in the fourth quarter with a concussion. The Steelers were leading 52-14 when Conner left for the locker room.

The Steelers have leaned on Conner in the absence of Le’Veon Bell, who has missed 10 weeks as he continues his holdout. The Steelers are optimistic Bell will report by Tuesday’s deadline, though president Art Rooney II indicated Pittsburgh still doesn’t know Bell’s plans. 

Conner is enjoying a breakout season, producing a total of 1,158 yards and 10 touchdowns through the team’s first nine games.