Report: Cardinals hope to open James Conner’s practice window this week

Nov 7, 2023, 7:42 AM | Updated: 8:54 am

The Arizona Cardinals hope to open the practice window for running back James Conner, who has missed the past four games due to a knee injury and is now eligible to return off the injured reserve list, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Opening Conner’s practice window this week would give him a 21-day designated to return period to work with his teammates before Arizona would be required to activate him to fill a roster spot or shut him down.

“He’s doing well,” Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon said Monday. “He’ll ramp up and we’ll see how he does. Hopefully, we’ll get him out there, too,”

It comes at a key moment for Arizona (1-8)  with quarterback Kyler Murray expected to make his season debut on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons after rehabbing his ACL injury. Conner’s return is also much-needed with offensive line injuries hampering the rushing attack as is, especially in a 2-0 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday in which the Cardinals were held to 41 rushing yards on 2.0 yards per carry.

Conner suffered his knee injury in the Cardinals’ 34-20 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5.

Before going down with the injury, Conner had racked up 68 carries for 364 yards (5.4 yards per carry) and two touchdowns through five starts. He added 30 more yards on eight catches.

Taking over the bulk of the work in the backfield in his absence has been undrafted rookie free agent Emari Demercado, who has rushed for 195 yards on a 4.0 yards per carry average.

Demercado has now played 219 offensive snaps this season (37% of those available), ahead of Conner’s 194 (33%) and second-year pro Keaontay Ingram’s 105 (18%).

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