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Bears vs. Steelers: chances of Le'Veon Bell playing against Chicago higher than initially estimated

Sunday will mark the return of tight end Heath Miller, playing for the first time since Week 16 of 2012. It may also mark the debut of Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell.

Justin K. Aller

Rarely does the word "questionable" seem so hopeful.

The Steelers listed rookie running back Le'Veon Bell as questionable on their injury report, which, by definition, is supposed to mean he has a 50/50 chance of playing in their next game.

Bell has been sidelined by a foot injury since Aug. 19. The common thought is he'd be back by the Steelers' Week 6 game against the New York Jets. He returned to practice this week, but wasn't expected to be this close to the roster so quickly.

Some of it smacks of desperation; the Steelers are off to their worst start in the fanchise's history in terms of running the football. Some of it has tones of "warm up;" Bell may play just a few snaps to see how his foot reacts to the game activity. If it's good, he stays. If it's not, they shut him down for the year.

The questionable designation also gives Chicago something to think about. The Steelers will run outside zone plays against them - something they haven't done much of this year. And with Bell, they'd be doing it against a running back they haven't seen, outside of four carries in the preseason.

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