For much of the 2013 NFL season, Detroit Lions breakout running back Joique Bell battled knee tendinitis. That familiar issue has surfaced once again this offseason, and Bell isn't expected to participate in any OTAs.
The Detroit Lions tailback hasn't participated in any of the first five OTAs due to an injured knee, and isn't optimistic about his chances of appearing in next week's final round of OTAs, either.
Bell told MLive it's unclear whether he'll be available for mandatory minicamp, which runs June 10-12, but he's confident the knee won't imperil his availability for the start of training camp in late July.
Though he didn't acknowledge whether he had surgery, Bell confirmed his status is related to the lingering tendinitis and claimed he's not far from being ready. However, it's clear he won't press the issue until he's completely healthy.
"My timetable is this, man: I'm working as hard as I can to get back as soon as I can," he said. "As soon as I feel I'm at a position where I can go out there and not hurt myself, that's when I'll be back out there."
Bell was excellent for the Lions a year ago, finishing with 1,197 yards from scrimmage and scoring eight touchdowns while splitting the backfield duties with Reggie Bush. He was the rare player who was a threat near the goal line—he scored seven touchdowns on 14 carries inside the 10-yard-line—and in the passing game.
Not only did Bell snag 53 passes, but he was also quite efficient in that regard, per Pro Football Focus:
He wasn't without his issues, however, namely a nasty habit of fumbling the ball, losing three. His knee issues are obviously a major concern too, as keeping him healthy and active will be key for Detroit next season.
And what an offense the Lions should have. With Bell and Bush in the backfield and Matthew Stafford throwing to weapons in the passing game like Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate and Eric Ebron, Detroit should be tough to stop.
But much will be reliant on Bell's knee returning to health. His versatility is very important to this offense, so rushing him back for OTAs or the mandatory minicamp doesn't make much sense.
Having Bell at full strength in September is the key. Having him in June is irrelevant.