When is a 'lisfranc' injury not a 'lisfranc' injury? When it's only a minor sprain like Le'Veon Bell, and not a significant tear like Matt Spaeth. The Pittsburgh Steelers and their team physicians know the difference, according to head coach Mike Tomlin during a press conference this afternoon.
Yesterday, Jay Glazer was the first to throw his line in the water to see if anything would stick as Tomlin put it, declaring Bell's injury to be the feared 'lisfranc' injury which has taken down a notable list of players over the past year and a half, including Santonio Holmes, Maurice Jones-Drew and most recently, Matt Spaeth, who was expected to fill the team's void at tight end in Heath Miller's absence. Spaeth underwent the knife and was expected to rejoin the team in 8-10 weeks. His injury took place before the team's fist preseason game.
According to Tomlin, Bell's mid-foot sprain does not require surgery, and denounced all reports claiming a '6-8' week recovery time with neither the team, nor the team's physician's releasing any such diagnosis. Tomlin seems to implicate the contrary, as quoted by Teresa Varley on the team's official website following the presser.
"We are optimistic and encouraged in how it’s developed over the last 48-72 hours," said Tomlin. "He is doing some things without discomfort, some rehabilitation –like exercises. It won’t be surgically repaired or need to be surgically repaired. So, all of those things are positive.
"I don’t have a long-range schedule. All I can say at this point is we’ll treat it conservatively with rehabilitation and we can just declare him out for this week. But, in the big scheme of things, that is encouraging news."
How encouraging is yet to be determined. Bell is still ruled out for the Steelers upcoming preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs, and is most likely out for at least the team's fourth game as well, although as Tomlin stated - no long-range schedule has been established.
LaRad Stephens-Howling sprained his MCL, but has returned to practice. Isaac Redman has also returned after a shoulder stinger kept him out of the loss to the Redskins, although Jonathan Dwyer played well in his place. They will continue to hold the fort until the doctors ring the Bell.
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