PITTSBURGH (AP) – Le’Veon Bell walked into and out of the Pittsburgh Steelers training room without a limp on Wednesday. Considering the thoughts racing through the running back’s head as he lay on the turf at Heinz Field last weekend with his right knee in agony, it’s a promising start.
“When it happened, so many thoughts went into my head,” Bell said. “It was scary. It was more so scary than anything.”
While an MRI showed no major damage to the knee following the legal if low hit by Cincinnati’s Reggie Nelson during Sunday night’s 27-17 win, Bell isn’t making any promises that he’ll be available when the Steelers host Baltimore in the wild-card round on Saturday night. Bell did not practice on Wednesday, instead mixing some work on a stationary bike and some light running with frequent stops to the training room.
“I don’t want to put any percentages on it because I don’t know what the percentages is,” he said. “When I feel good enough, I’m going to play.”
The Steelers are preparing as if their team MVP won’t play. Newly signed Ben Tate along with rookies Josh Harris and Dri Archer all worked with the first team. Tate, brought in on Tuesday after being cut by Minnesota a week ago, is the most experienced option but is also on his fourth team in 12 months. He left Houston to sign with Cleveland in the offseason but was cut on Nov. 18 before moving on to Minnesota and suddenly, Pittsburgh.
“I really don’t want to talk about this season,” Tate said. “I’m moving on now. I’m here now, and I’m a Steeler now. So, that’s all I’m really worrying about.”
Tate is trying to absorb the playbook while Bell races the clock. The Steelers have just six days to brace for their rivals, who just so happen to have the NFL’s fourth-ranked run defense. Bell was limited to 79 yards rushing against Baltimore during the regular season, though he was effective catching passes out of the backfield. Yet even if he’s cleared Bell is unsure of how much he will be able to do.
“I don’t want to play fearing my knee getting hurt,” he said. “When I play, I want to be comfortable and not worry about cutting or jumping or whatever I may have to do.”
Bell allowed the hit from Nelson was legal but didn’t exactly endorse the move.
“It’s football,” he said. “It’s a dangerous sport so he got me down the way he could. That’s that.”
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