TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Watching Kenny Bell run through drills and speed through his routes, it's hard to believe that only a month ago he broke his tibia, an injury that required surgery. But as the scars form, the junior wide receiver who was Alabama's best deep threat at the position is trying to get himself prepared for Notre Dame and Miami. The trip to South Beach for the BCS Championship Game is only days away.
"He's doing pretty well," sophomore wideout Christion Jones said. It's common for Alabama to allow injured players to stay away from speaking to the media. "He's doing really well to get back and get ready and get involved in practice."
Jones, who himself dealt with a sprained ankle earlier in the season, said he's been surprised by Bell's recovery. Though Bell is still limited in what he can do and continues to wear a black no-contact jersey, the fact that he's even on the field is impressive to Jones, his sophomore teammate from Adamsville, Ala.
"He's recovering quick and hopefully he'll be back and ready to play against Notre Dame," Jones said.
Coach Nick Saban said on Dec. 18 that Bell was "cleared to start doing some things" and that "how he does, how he manages, what his tolerance is to activity is will be determined as we go." Saban added then that he couldn't "make a call as to whether he'll play in the game or not at this juncture."
Bell is one of three receivers who have gone down with serious injuries this season. Former starter DeAndrew White tore a knee ligament, and freshman Chris Black hurt his shoulder before the season ever began, resulting in what will likely be a redshirt year for the former top-10 prospect.
Bell, who was a key reserve, had 17 catches for 431 yards and three touchdowns before he was sidelined. He still leads the team with 25.4 yards per reception.
"He's a playmaker for us, but we're going to have some younger guys step up and make plays," quarterback AJ McCarron said at the time of the injury.
"He’s doing great," starting wideout Kevin Norwood said. "He’s doing his best to come back. I feel for him. This is something he wants to do. He’s practiced hard all year, back in the summertime, doing extra work and stuff like that. He wants to be out there with us.”
Unlike Jones, Norwood hasn't been shocked by Bell's swift return.
“Well, for some people it might be crazy, but I’ve been around him a long time and I know he wants this," he said. "He wants to be out there with us. I know he’s working hard to be out there with us."
With Bell's status still uncertain, Jones said to look for redshirt freshman Marvin Shinn to possibly step up.
"I think one to watch, that I think to watch, is Marvin Shinn," he said. "He's done a great job this week and last week practicing and preparing for the game."