Lions RB Joique 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.
"Yeah, I do," Bell said confidently when asked if he'd be ready for camp.
Bell wouldn't say whether he had surgery on the knee, but did acknowledge the ailment is linked to the tendinitis that bothered him throughout last season.
The Lions hired Joe Lombardi (formerly of the Saints) to run the offense. The general consensus is that he’s going to run the ball more, but the Saints actually threw it more often than the Lions did in 2013 (from a pass/run standpoint). However, with the way team personnel are talking about the new offense, we’re relatively certain that he’s going to utilize Reggie Bush in more of a receiving role. Bush saw about 50% of the carries in 2013, while Bell’s number was called 37% of the time. Lombardi was in New Orleans during Bush’s stint there, so he was around while Bush’s average carries dropped from 13.1 in 2007 to a career low 4.5 in 2010, his final season with the Saints. Bush has had far more success running the ball post-Saints, averaging 4.6 YPC with the Dolphins and the Lions after posting a 4.0 YPC while in New Orleans. So while Bush probably won’t be ignored in the running game, the split could easily flip to Bell in a lead rushing role. Bell finished with 219 touches in 2013 (finishing as the #17 RB in standard formats) and the team just extended his contract, indicating that he’s a big part of their long-term offensive plan. As the #25 RB off the board in the 8th/9th round, he has some upside as a possible 230- to 250-touch running back.