After suffering a serious knee injury midway through the 2015 season, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is expected to be ready to go by the time the team kicks off their 2016 regular season against the Washington Redskins. However, while Bell’s rehab is already allowing him to play some basketball during the offseason, he was limited to only doing individual drills on Tuesday during the team’s first OTA practice of 2016.
According to Will Graves of the Associated Press, Bell said Tuesday he has not yet been fully cleared to resume practicing and that the coaches and team doctors are bringing him along slowly. Additionally, the team’s former second-round draft pick hopes to be ready for contact by the time training camp gets underway in late July.
In the Steelers first meeting against the Cincinnati Bengals last season, Bell severely injured his knee when tackled along the sideline by linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Bell reportedly said Tuesday that he felt Burfict intended to injure him on that play and that he now accepts that as life in the NFL. In the future, Bell said he plans on doing a better job of protecting himself from serious injury, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Bell hopes to be 100% by the time the season starts and it will be interesting to see if he’s healthy enough come late July to avoid being placed on the team’s Active PUP list when he arrives in Latrobe for training camp.
The Steelers second game of the 2016 season will be against the Bengals at Heinz Field and Burfict will not play in that game due to a suspension.