PITTSBURGH -- Despite returning to practice as a limited participant a week ago, Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner said he will be out Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. He isn't speculating on his availability after that, either.
"I don't want to look too far ahead because it's still going to take some time," Conner said Thursday. "We'll see. Hopefully I can get out there as soon as possible, but this week? Nah."
Conner, who hasn't played since a brief appearance against the Browns on Nov. 14, said he's been taking scout team reps this week.
"Just don't want to take none of the game reps away from some guys that are going to be active," said Conner, who was a limited participant in Wednesday's practice. "Nice to get out there and just run around."
Conner injured the AC joint in his right shoulder during the final two minutes of a win against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 28. He was wrapping up his best game of the season: 145 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
Conner missed the next two games against the Colts and Rams before trying to play against the Browns in the Thursday night game. Conner realized after a quarter that his body wasn't ready.
"I just wasn't ready to come back," he said. "I just tried to fight through it, but I wasn't able to."
Rookie Benny Snell Jr. has stepped up in Conner's absence, particularly in the past two games. He scored his first NFL touchdown this past Sunday against the Browns, a 1-yard run to give the Steelers a 17-10 lead. He finished the game with 16 carries for 63 yards. A week earlier against Cincinnati, Snell led the Steelers with 21 carries for 98 yards.
"He prepared himself well," Conner said. "My job is to be there [for] anything he needs, questions that he has. He's been doing great."
Before he played against the Browns, Conner said playing with the injury was a matter of pain tolerance. He said he's "day-by-day" at this point but isn't ruling out returning to the field in the final three regular-season games. The Steelers are in contention for the final AFC wild card, holding the No. 6 spot if the regular season ended today.
"Honestly, taking it day-by-day," Conner said. "So whatever that may be, I'm not going to count it out until I'm done for sure."