James Conner “feeling very good” about return

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Steelers running back James Conner is planning to play Thursday night against the Browns.

That’s not the same as being well.

Via Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com, Conner said the key for him this week will be pain management, as he recovers from a shoulder injury that cost him the last two games. He said he struggled to raise his arm over his head at first, but hopes to be able to improve on his strength and range of motion, even if he’s not practicing much.

I’m making a lot of progress on it, and I think I’ll be good to go,” Conner said. “I can’t make no guarantees, but as of right now, I’m feeling very good and things are feeling very confident for me playing on Thursday.”

The Steelers have struggled to move the ball at all on the ground without him, averaging 1.6 yards per carry on 27 attempts Sunday against the Rams (42 whole yards). And yet, they won.

“We’ve been playing versus good defenses,” Conner said. “I just want to contribute to the run game when I get back. Mason [Rudolph] played good. We won the games without the run game. That doesn’t mean we don’t need it because we definitely do, and so hopefully I can contribute to it when I get back.”

He can’t hurt, even if his shoulder still does.