Le'Veon Bell has Lisfranc injury, out 6-8 weeks

8/21/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

After a disappointing season in which they failed to reach the playoffs, one facet of the Pittsburgh Steelers' team stood out as particularly inept - the running game. The team finished ranked 26th in rushing with an abysmal 3.7 yards per carry, good for 28th in the league. Though they had a platoon of five running backs who each tallied 25+ rushing attempts on the season, none of them were able to average more than 4.0 yards per carry.

Aug 12, 2013; Latrobe, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) carries the ball during training camp drills at Saint Vincent College. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY SportsThe team addressed their position need early in the 2013 NFL Draft by using their second-round pick to make Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell the second running back taken. The rookie was penciled in for a massive workload in 2013, with many analysts projecting him for more than 300 carries, but that is no longer a possibility.

Bell left the Steelers' preseason tilt with the Redskins on Monday night with an apparent foot injury. While foot injuries are never a good sign for running backs, it was assumed that Bell would be fine for the season opener as long as he avoided a Lisfranc injury. Lo and behold, Bell was diagnosed with a Lisfranc injury on Wednesday, and will miss a minimum of 6-8 weeks.

The 6-8 week timetable would have Bell returning for either the Steelers' Week 6 game against the Jets or their Week 7 game against the Ravens. However, Bell is no lock to return to the field when the timetable has concluded. The Steelers are "hopeful" that their prized running back will not require surgery, but it has not been ruled out as a possibility. Keep in mind that Santonio Holmes underwent surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury last October and now may start this season on the PUP - this can both literally and figuratively be a crippling injury. There is a solid chance that the Steelers place Bell on the injured reserve/designated to return list, which would allow him to return to game action in Week 9, but if he does not recover the way that they hope, they may shut him down and opt for surgery.

For what it's worth, Bell recently said on Twitter, "I'll be back quicker than ppl kno it...God doesn't make mistakes!"

The Steelers will now roll with a combination of Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, and LaRod Stephens-Howling in their backfield. Remember how frustrating the Steelers' running back situation was for fantasy owners last season? It looks like we're in for that once again. Keep an eye on what the Steelers do with their running backs during their third preseason game on Saturday for a better idea of how they will be used.

As for Bell, take him off your draft board for now. If he ends up needing surgery, that could sideline him for the season. The best case scenario is that he misses four games, but his status is too uncertain to draft him as if that is what will happen. Hopefully your draft isn't too soon, because you'll want to get more information on him before estimating his value.
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