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Pro Bowler James Conner Waits To See If He'll Play Against Colts

Notes: Winslow to punt; Garcia game-day decision; Jones' Pro Bowl pick

Running back James Conner is dealing with a heel injury and his status for the Christmas game is in doubt.
Running back James Conner is dealing with a heel injury and his status for the Christmas game is in doubt.

James Conner is "confident" he will play Saturday against the Colts.

But the Pro Bowl running back also admitted it's still up in the air because of a heel injury, which makes sense after he didn't practice all week.

It's understandable, given the kind of player Conner is and they way he goes about his job. But coach Kliff Kingsbury called him a game-day decision, and Conner fed into that by noting he'll continue to get treatment all the way through Christmas.

He's been banged up – he said the ankle that might've kept him out in Detroit is fine – but that's life as a running back.

"It's the job I signed up for," he said.

The Cardinals aren't complaining. Conner has given them everything this season even if he misses a game, with more than 1,000 yards rushing and receiving with 16 total touchdowns. It's been an amazing year after the Steelers let him walk as a free agent, deciding his best days might've been behind him.

"The work ethic, the focus he's had, the unselfishness, he's done whatever we've asked full speed every day," Kingsbury said. "For a guy like that to get that type of (Pro Bowl) recognition, it's huge. That's what he wanted to do, prove to people what type of player he is, and he was able to do that. You have to cheer for a guy like that."

Conner acknowledged getting the Pro Bowl nod was a big deal.

"It's a story of hard work, faith but also opportunity," Conner said, noting his teammates and also owner Michael Bidwill, GM Steve Keim and Kingsbury.

HUDSON COULD STILL RETURN; GARCIA, MOORE GAME-DAY DECISIONS

If center Rodney Hudson, who remains on the Covid list and who missed the game in Detroit, comes off the list between now and the game, Kingsbury said there is a chance he would play against the Colts.

In addition to Conner, Kingsbury said wide receiver Rondale Moore (ankle), who didn't practice all week, and offensive lineman Max Garcia (knee) would also be game-day decisions. If Hudson remains out and Garcia can't go, Marcus Henry is the third-string center, although Sean Harlow has also played there.

Defensive lineman Jordan Phillips is out for Saturday, but Kingsbury said he is expected to be back at some point before the end of the regular season.

For the Colts, center Ryan Kelly (personal) and safety Andrew Sendejo (concussion) are out.

CHANDLER JONES AND HIS PRO BOWL RETURN

It's been an interesting year for linebacker Chandler Jones. He wasn't playing at this time in 2020, because of an injury that ended his season after six games. He was hoping for a contract extension in the offseason but it never came. He had five sacks in the opener, although he's had some sack lulls all year.

Still, he was named a Pro Bowl starter with 9½ sacks and acknowledged Thursday it was meaningful.

"Me being injured last year, missing all season, I've never been injured where I missed time like that," Jones said. "What that does to a player mentally, that's something you have to get through, even stepping on to the field. For God to have blessed me to make it (back) this far, injury-free, now to be voted as one of the best in the business, it's a blessing and it feels amazing."

WITH LEE OUT, WNSLOW RETURNS

With punter Andy Lee landing on the Covid list on Wednesday, Kingsbury said he doesn't think Lee will be available Saturday. It necessitated a punter, so the Cardinals re-signed Ryan Winslow – who has already had a couple of stints on the roster in training camp and offseason – to the practice squad. Winslow will be elevated for the game.

The Cardinals also re-signed tight end David Wells to the practice squad.

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