Steelers downgrade James Conner to doubtful with ankle injury

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner has been downgraded to doubtful for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots, the team announced Saturday.

Conner sprained his ankle on Dec. 2 against the Chargers.

Conner, who missed last week's loss to the Oakland Raiders, practiced on a limited basis for the first time Friday.

He has rushed for 909 yards and 12 touchdowns, the second most in the NFL this season to Todd Gurley's 15.

He has also emerged as a weapon in Pittsburgh's passing game, hauling in 52 receptions -- third most on the team -- for 467 yards.

In Conner's absence, Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley would take over at running back.

The Steelers also activated wide receiver Eli Rogers on Saturday, a source tells ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Rogers, who tore his ACL in the Steelers' playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in January, has been practicing for a few weeks, including some work with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the first-team offense.

In two seasons of play with the Steelers, he has 66 receptions for 743 yards and four touchdowns.