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Steelers' Le'Veon Bell rehabbing knee; looks to stay healthy in '16

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is jogging through hallways less than four months after tearing his medial collateral ligament against the Bengals.

He's not taking it much farther than that. Bell describes his rehab plan to Steelers.com as "real conservative," saving running mostly for the Alter-G gravity treadmill inside the team facility.

The Steelers have placed no timetable on the return of Bell, who is taking the same approach. His focus: feeling 100 percent when he does take the field.

"The only thing I'm not cleared for is cutting and sprinting," Bell told the site this week.

Bell was quickly establishing himself as one of the game's best running backs after 2,215 total yards in 2014. But he hyperextended his knee in Week 16 of that season, then missed the first two games of 2015 due to a suspension for a marijuana-related arrest. By the time he got his footing with 556 rushing yards through six games, his right knee got trapped underneath his body by the sideline as Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict attempted to tackle him in a Nov. 1 loss to Cincinnati.

Despite ending back-to-back seasons with an injury, Bell says he's not injury-prone.

"I just think it was a bad luck thing," Bell said. "It's not like nagging injuries; it's more misfortune. I am taking care of my body. I just have to keep doing that. I just need to be smarter and get down to the ground safely. I look back on it now and everything happens for a reason. I am just trying to get my knee back and stronger than before. That is what it's going to take for me to be back to the level where I was."

Bell didn't think he tore the MCL when the injury first happened, which made the harsh reality of the medical evaluations difficult to handle. Bell said he's been healthy throughout high school and college and is eager to finish a full season in 2016. "Now that I am in the NFL, I'm missing games and it's frustrating," Bell said.

If Bell returns for training camp, the Steelers will likely protect the running back with no-contact drills, which is typical of training camp anyway. Coach Mike Tomlin plans to "take care of me," Bell said, because his coach knows he will be in the best shape possible come camp.

"I feel like I am going to be a better player at the end of this and that's what I want," Bell said.