If the Pittsburgh Steelers are to conquer their New England Patriots demons Sunday afternoon, they reportedly will have to do so without their top running back.

James Conner is “unlikely” to play against New England, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Saturday, citing a source. Conner already has missed his team’s last two games while nursing an ankle injury suffered Week 12 against the Los Angeles Chargers.

The second-year back is expected to return for Week 16, though.

Playing in place of star back Le’Veon Bell, Conner has emerged as one of the NFL’s best all-around backs.

The University of Pittsburgh product has racked up 909 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground, while hauling in 52 catches for 467 yards and a score in the passing game.

Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images