Even though his knee rehab has gone well to this point, there’s a very good chance that Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell won’t be ready to practice fully when the team reports to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe in a few weeks for the start of training camp.
If you listened to the podcast on Monday, you heard me talk quite a bit about how I fully expect Bell to start training camp off on the team’s Active PUP list with hopes that he would be able to be removed from it by the start of the 2016 regular season. On Wednesday, Dr. David Chao, who is now doing some work for Real Football Network, made his thoughts known on Bell as it relates to whether or not he thinks he’ll avoid PUP at the start of training camp.
“He had a PCL and MCl tear,” Chao said of Bell’s knee injury that suffered last year during the Week 8 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. “There’s four main ligaments you need like four legs on a bar stool and if your ACL is torn, and let’s say one leg’s a little bit off, it rocks a little bit. You can kind of still use the chair, just don’t stand on it to change a light bulb. When two legs are gone, that’s a very unstable situation and that’s the situation with Le’Veon Bell. So really, a PCL/MCL is harder to come back from than an ACL. Of course there’s a lot of optimistic reports coming out from the player, but what player is not optimistic. I would be very surprised if he did not start on PUP. I think he’s going to play this season, the question is how well and how soon.”
It’s important to remember that Bell is still just a little more than 8 full months removed from his surgery and because of that, the Steelers are likely going to want to take it very careful with him during training camp and the preseason. By the time the Steelers preseason finale rolls around, however, Bell will then be 10 full months removed from his original injury date. So if I had to guess, he might be removed from Active PUP a week or so prior to that game with hopes that he can play a few snaps against the Carolina Panthers.
Placing a player on Active PUP is a necessary evil for teams as a player is not eligible for the Reserve PUP list at the start of the regular season if he wasn’t on the Active version. Additionally, players can only be placed on the Active PUP list at the start of training camp as they are no longer eligible for it once they begin practicing.
In summation, none of what Chao said Wednesday should come as a surprise. The real surprise will be if Bell is not placed on Active PUP as soon as the Steelers arrive at Latrobe.