Pitt RB James Conner ‘not quite’ ready to return from MCL tear

Pitt Panthers running back James Conner tore his MCL in his team’s season opener against Youngstown State and was ruled out for the season, but appears to be doing well enough in his recovery to the point that head coach Pat Narduzzi said that his star rusher could return this season.

However, per a report from Jerry DiPaola of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Conner is “not quite” ready to step back on the field according to running backs coach Andre Powell.

“Doctors tell me he’s a certain percentage,” Powell said. “When they say he’s 100, then I’m ready to have him back.”

Conner has simply been great for Pitt since coming to the team from McDowell High School in Erie, just a two hour drive north of Pittsburgh. Last season, his sophomore year, he rushed for 1,765 yards and ranked third in FBS with 26 rushing touchdowns.

This season, in his lone game, he ran for 77 yards and two scores on just eight carries, clearly on his way to another great season prior to his injury.

Pitt has gone 6-3 (4-1 ACC) on the year despite Conner being gone, and that is why he should not rush his recovery. His competitive urge must be itching to get back on the field and while that is valid, he is of no use to the Panthers if he re-injures himself and is not 100 percent to begin with.

Thus, he will remain on the shelf for now and Campus Sports will continue to update his recovery.

Pitt looks to avoid a third straight loss when it visits Duke on Saturday. Kickoff is slated for 12 p.m. ET.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports