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Steelers notebook: Bell expected to be back for 2016 opener

| Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, 6:42 p.m.

Le'Veon Bell's knee injury will keep him out for the rest of the season, but the Steelers' All-Pro running back should be back in time for next year's opener.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday during his weekly news conference that Bell's ACL in his right knee was spared during a second-quarter tackle by Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict that injured Bell's MCL and PCL.

An ACL tear typically takes a full year to recover while some have returned sooner. Former Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall came back in nine months in 2012.

An MCL tear also can take up to a year to heal, but a more realistic time frame is 6-9 months.

“He should be ready,” South Carolina-based orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Geier said of Bell for next year's opener.

Tomlin said the Steelers haven't determined when Bell will have his knee surgically repaired. Tomlin said Bell will have a discussion with the Steelers' medical team to determine when the surgery will take place.

“They are not trying to figure out what to do, they just want to have a conference to discuss the options and set a timetable in which to do it,” Tomlin said.

• While Ramon Foster and Marcus Gilbert said publicly following Sunday's game that they believe Burfict intentionally tried to injure Bell on the tackle, Tomlin wouldn't elaborate much more than saying the tackle was legal. “I don't know the man, so I can't speak to his intent,” Tomlin said.

• Quarterback Mike Vick (hamstring), safety Will Allen (ankle) and defensive end Stephon Tuitt (knee) are expected to practice this week in “some capacity,” according to Tomlin. Safety Mike Mitchell is in the league's concussion protocol, and linebacker Terence Garvin remains out with an MCL knee sprain that he had surgically repaired last week.

• Tomlin said there is no update on the injured tibia of Maurkice Pouncey, who indicated on social media two weeks that he had another surgery. When asked if he was optimistic that Pouncey could return this year, Tomlin said: “I'm optimistic about a lot of things. That's just me though.”

• The Steelers went into the Bengals game as the least penalized team in the NFL, averaging only six per game. On Sunday, the Steelers were penalized 10 times for 91 yards. “The penalties were disturbing and that's not how we are going to play,” Tomlin said. “We are going to fix that and fix that ASAP. It was an issue in the game. Penalties had been an asset for us over the course of the season.”

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