The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Pro

August 23, 2013

Just a footnote

Steelers rookie Bell’s sprain not serious; RB doubtful against Chiefs

PITTSBURGH —  Le’Veon Bell’s rehab from a sprained foot includes an exercise that requires the Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back to pick up marbles with his toes.

“Nothing crazy,” Bell said with a laugh.

And, apparently, nothing serious either.

While Bell will sit out Saturday night’s exhibition game against the Kansas City Chiefs with a sprained right foot, the second-round pick isn’t worried about the injury extending well into the regular season.

“I’ve already been healing real quick,” Bell said Thursday. “As long as the process keeps going the way it is, I should be back pretty quick.”

Coach Mike Tomlin declined to put an exact timetable on Bell’s return but pointed to the fact surgery will not be required as an encouraging sign. Less than 72 hours after going down in the first quarter of a 24-13 loss to Washington, Bell can already put weight on it, though he did wear a walking boot into the locker room as a precaution.

It beats the cast being worn by tight end Matt Spaeth, who is dealing with a more significant version of the same injury. Spaeth is out at least two months after tearing the Lisfranc ligament in his left foot.

There are no such concerns for Bell, though the 48th overall pick in the draft is a bit mystified about his bumpy training camp. The 21-year-old was a workhorse last fall at Michigan State, leading the nation with 383 carries. His durability is one of the main reasons the Steelers drafted him as the heir apparent to replace departed Rashard Mendenhall.

Instead he’ll watch from the sidelines for the second time in three weeks while Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman attempt to hold onto the starting job, at least temporarily.

“It gets a little frustrating at times,” Bell said. “It’s something I’m faced with. I’ll fight through it.”

Just don’t expect him to race through it.

Though Tomlin called all signs around Bell’s prognosis “positive” he’s not going to rush Bell out onto the field just to do it.

“We don’t have a long-range schedule,” Tomlin said. “At this point, we’ll treat it conservatively with rehabilitation.”

It’s the correct diagnosis, even if it’s not one Bell wants to hear. He averaged more than 30 touches a game during his last two seasons at Michigan State, touching the ball an average of 23 times a game.

Outside of the usual aches and pains, he’s never had so much as an ingrown toenail. Now he’s dealing with his third issues in as many weeks.

He skipped the preseason opener against the New York Giants as a precaution after tweaking his left knee in practice. He aggravated the injury in practice but recovered in time to make his professional debut.

It was one that turned into little more than an extended cameo. Bell carried four times for nine yards while working with the first team, his night ending shortly after he felt an opponent fall onto his leg while he was trying to push the pile forward. Bell remained in for one more play before heading to the sideline.

When he took his cleats off, he couldn’t even put his foot on the ground. An MRI revealed the sprain, though the Steelers sought out a second opinion to confirm that he wouldn’t need surgery.

“It was great news,” Bell said.

And a blessing of sorts. While stressing the knee was good enough to play against the Redskins, the downtime required by the sprained foot means the knee will be “100 percent” whenever Bell is back on the practice field.

“It’s a long season,” Bell said. “I would like to come back to where I can actually be able to play and not think about it. I want to make sure everything’s comfortable so I can play the way I want to play.”

Dwyer, who ran for 68 yards on Monday night, will likely start against the Chiefs. Tomlin also held out hope that Isaac Redman will be ready to go after missing a week due to a stinger. The same goes for LaRod Stephens-Howling and the mild knee sprain that kept him out versus Washington.

Whoever is in the backfield will be charged with getting the first team into the end zone. It hasn’t happened yet, though Tomlin expects the starters to play a half – if not more – when Kansas City visits.

––

NOTES: Tight end Heath Miller, rehabbing from left knee surgery, remained noncommittal about when he’ll be able to return. Miller is currently on the physically unable to perform list but has shown significant progress during camp. ... CB Cortez Allen practiced on Thursday as he recovers from minor knee surgery. Allen said he remains “day to day,” and isn’t sure he’ll play on Saturday. Allen, slated to be the starting cornerback across from Ike Taylor, said his focus is being ready for the season opener against Tennessee Sept. 8.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Pro
  • Pirates 0417 Pirates power past Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
    Harrison’s two-run drive down the left field line off Rob Wooten (0-1) was the second of his career as a pinch hitter.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0417 Jackets preparing for Game 2

    The Columbus Blue Jackets don’t feel they’re doomed after blowing a two-goal lead in a Game 1 loss of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
    “It’s not about missed chances, or feeling sorry about it,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said at Thursday’s optional workout, 13 hours after falling 4-3 in Pittsburgh.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0416 Penguins rally to wear out Jackets

    Brandon Sutter scored on a wrist shot from the left circle 8:18 into the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins rally for a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
    Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen scored power-play goals 45 seconds apart in the second period, erasing Pittsburgh’s two-goal deficit.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shelley and McElligot Series serves as reunion for former Chiefs personnel

    Not so long ago, Bob McElligott, like most Western Pennsylvania hockey fans, would savor a long Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run.
    The Somerset native followed the Pens’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malkin nearing return

    The Columbus Blue Jackets are the closest NHL team to the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least geographically. The two franchises are separated by 185 miles of highway.

    April 15, 2014

  • Reds swing way past Pirates

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole's winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
    First, the NL Central rivals completed a game that was suspended in the sixth inning because of rain the previous night.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pirates Game 1 0415 Pirates edge out Reds in suspended game

    After all those home runs and an overnight delay, it was settled by a single.
    Andrew McCutchen doubled and came around on Russell Martin’s single in the seventh inning on Tuesday, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates an 8-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the completion of a game that spanned two days and 10 home runs.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0414 Pressure on Penguins to capture Cup

    The statistics are gaudy.
    And if the Pittsburgh Penguins can’t find a way to extend their season into the final days of spring, ultimately forgettable.
    The same team that led the NHL in man games lost due to injury (more than 500) also earned 109 points, led the Metropolitan Division from mid-October on and received another peerless effort from star Sidney Crosby, who topped the league with 104 points and is a near lock for the second MVP award of his career.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads