Joique Bell has spent the majority of the past two weeks during Detroit Lions practices running off on the side. While the rest of his teammates go through individual drills, Bell lines up between orange cones and does a variety of sprints and lateral maneuvers.
He’s still on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, so there isn’t much more the running back can do until he is cleared. When that will be is still up in the air, but Bell doesn’t seem too concerned about potentially not playing much until the regular season.
“It’s just about how I feel physically,” Bell said. “And as far as my conditioning, I condition every day. So as far as that, I don’t think that’s going to be an issue as far as getting back into football shape. But right now, my main concern is just getting healthy.”
Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Bell is still following the team’s return-to-play protocol and they are gauging when Bell could return. Bell injured his knee and Achilles last season and had surgeries in the offseason.
“There are no guarantees. You just don’t know in this league,” Caldwell said. “And you anticipate he’s young and strong and he’s one of those guys that has always been a workhorse, and we fully expect him to come back and be what he was last year for us and that was a bell cow.
“He was a tough, hard-nosed guy that set a great tone for us. We are anticipating that exact same sort of effort, and he feels like he’s close, so I feel good about that.”
He missed the entire spring workouts and has missed the first three weeks of training camp so far. The Lions hope Bell returns to the form he showed during the second half of last season, when he had more than 100 all-purpose yards in four of the last seven regular-season games. It's good news Caldwell expects him to return as the bell cow, but now it's up to Bell. When Bell returns, the story went on to say, he is likely to be the starter in a backfield that includes rookie Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick, as well as George Winn and Zach Zenner fighting for a potential No. 4 running back spot.