Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell had one of the best seasons in franchise history for a running back last year. It was a huge coming out party for the second-year runner out of Michigan State and it immediately made him a major part of the Pittsburgh offense. They clearly are not the same without him.
This fact was no more apparent than in the Steelers’ 30-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card round of last year’s playoffs. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, Bell suffered a knee injury in the final week of the season against Cincinnati. He was unable to play in the playoffs and his absence was clear. The Steelers struggled mightily and could never recover.
Bell’s injury came on Dec. 28, 2014. On the play, Bell caught a Ben Roethlisberger pass down the middle of the field. Bengals safety Reggie Nelson went low on the play and his helmet collided with Bell’s right knee. At the time, the injury looked terrible and many people feared the worse for Pittsburgh’s 2014 team MVP. Fortunately, after getting examined, doctors declared Bell’s knee was only hyperextended and the worst had been avoided.
Fast-forward five months.
Bell’s knee should be fully recovered by now. Typical knee hyperextensions take around one month to fully heal and Bell’s recovery was expected to follow the typical one-month path. However, his knee is apparently still not back to full form.
In an interview with ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Bell offered some insight into his injury and the recovery process.
“The injury wasn’t as bad as it might have looked, but it was pretty scary, don’t get me wrong,” Bell said. “I was laying down on the ground just thinking, ‘I hope it’s not something serious where I can’t play anymore or if I’m out for a long period of time.’ But I’m glad everything worked out and I’m glad my knee is getting close to 100-percent again.”
Although Bell inadvertently said it, “getting close to 100-percent again” is extremely concerning for Steelers fans.
Adding to the concerns, Bell told the NFL Network in late January that his knee was “close to 100 percent.” If it was close back then, shouldn’t it be fully healed now? Or the better question – did he have a setback in between?
Bell is expected to be ready for the start of the season. He has posted several videos showcasing his workouts on his Twitter account, which clearly shows he is in immense shape and appears ready when game day returns. In addition, he will have an extra three weeks to prepare while he serves his three-game suspension.
The bigger question is whether or not Bell will still have any lingering effects on his knee.
Knee injuries, especially of the horrifically looking kind, do not just go away quietly. Knee complications have hindered many players in the past despite thinking they were fully recovered. Considering Bell’s style of play in which he depends on quick, sharp cuts, it is easy to see how the stress could add up on his knees