While it’s easy to be quite frustrated by the Friday news concerning Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, there is a bit of a silver lining surrounding his potential forthcoming four-game suspension.
For starters, assuming his reported appeal is ultimately denied, the Steelers will have no real reason to push Bell and his rehabbed knee along during training camp and the preseason. In fact, it still will be quite surprising if Bell doesn’t start training camp off on the team’s Active PUP list and remain there the entire time the team is in Latrobe. At best, he will see limited playing time late in the preseason, but following the news of his potential suspension, there’s really no need to play him at all during the practice games.
A little over a week ago, I posted the thoughts of Dr. David Chao of the Real Football Network on Bell and he thoroughly discussed the PCL and MCL tears the Steelers running back is attempting to comeback from.
“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,” Chao said. “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.”
By the time Bell returns from his four-game suspension, he will be right at 11 months removed from his knee surgery. By then, he should be able to be eased back into action during the team’s Week 5 game against the New York Jets, and ready again for a full workload the following week. Just consider his suspension a shorter PUP stay.
Even if Bell hadn’t been suspended, there’s a good chance he would have been eased into action during the Steelers first two regular season games and thus splitting carries with veteran DeAngelo Williams. As it currently looks, Bell received an extra four weeks of rehab with his suspension.