PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping running back James Conner's sprained left ankle will be ready in time to play on Sunday against New England.
The AFC North leaders listed Conner as questionable to face the Patriots in a pivotal game for the Steelers (7-5-1). They've dropped three straight and lead Baltimore by just a half-game for the top spot in the division. Conner sat out last week's loss to Oakland after injuring the ankle in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers on Dec. 2.
Conner is sixth in the NFL with 909 yards rushing and second with 12 rushing touchdowns. Pittsburgh struggled to move the ball on the ground in Conner's absence against the Raiders, finishing with a season-low 55 yards. Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley will split time in the backfield if Conner is unable to play.
Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert will miss his eighth straight game with a knee injury. Wide receiver Ryan Switzer is listed as questionable after tweaking an ankle.
After bringing in two kickers for a tryout this week, Pittsburgh is sticking with Chris Boswell. Coach Mike Tomlin confirmed Friday that Boswell, a Pro Bowler in 2017, will handle the kicking duties against New England.
Boswell has missed 11 combined kicks this season, including two field goals against the Raiders. The team brought in former kicker Shaun Suisham this week to serve as a mentor to help Boswell out of his slump.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL