Tomlin: Le'Veon Bell 'going to play'

Updated: September 24, 2013, 6:49 PM ET
By Scott Brown | ESPN.com

PITTSBURGH -- Running back Le'Veon Bell is expected to make his NFL debut Sunday when the Steelers play the Minnesota Vikings in London.

Coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that Bell is "going to play" against the Vikings, although he did not commit to the Steelers' second-round draft pick starting the game at Wembley Stadium.

[+] EnlargeLe'Veon Bell
George Gojkovich/Getty ImagesPittsburgh running back Le'Veon Bell, who has been sidelined with a mid-foot sprain, will make his NFL regular-season debut Sunday.

The return of Bell, who has been sidelined since sustaining a mid-foot sprain in an Aug. 19 preseason game, can't come too soon for a rushing attack that is averaging 51.7 yards per game and is No. 31 in the NFL.

The Steelers have opened the season 0-3. Tomlin said the team's slow start falls on the shoulders of the entire organization.

"We're all falling short right now, coaches included, so we're not trying to throw anybody under the bus or identify anybody as an Achilles heel or a weak link," Tomlin said. "The reality is that we all need to work collectively together to solve our issues."

Bell, a former Michigan State star, practiced last week and Tomlin said he "perked up dramatically."

"He's been doing a nice job of working from a rehabilitation standpoint," Tomlin said. "But we'll let the practice process be our guide as far as deciding how much work he gets in the football game."

The Steelers had been grooming Bell to open the season as their starter before knee and foot injuries sidetracked the 6-foot-1, 244-pounder.

In other injuries news, Tomlin said he is optimistic that cornerback Cortez Allen will return after missing the last two games because of a sprained ankle. Tight end Heath Miller, meanwhile, won't have any restrictions after returning during Sunday night's loss to Chicago from reconstructive knee surgery.

Defensive end Brett Keisel and nose tackle Steve McLendon will be limited in the early part of the week by hamstring injuries. Both, Tomlin said, are expected to play against the Vikings (0-3).

Scott Brown

ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter

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