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Steelers not certain RB Le'Veon Bell will be ready for the start of the 2016 regular season

The knee injury to Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell might not just sideline him for half of the 2015 season, but could also have him not ready for the beginning of the 2016 regular season.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Running back DeAngelo Williams might be the smartest Pittsburgh Steelers free agent acquisition in recent memory. He proved to be a phenomenal back up for Le'Veon Bell during the 2015 season. Now there are indications that Williams might need to resume his starting role at the beginning of the 2016 season amid rumors that Bell will not be ready in time for the 2016 season opener.

General manager Kevin Colbert seemed noncommittal about the return of Bell at the start of the 2016 season saying, "We can't even say he'll be ready for the regular season because we won't know until he goes through the whole process."

After any injury, it is important for players to recover fully and rehabilitate themselves so that they can play with confidence and without undue risk of reinjury. So, it is possible Colbert is just speaking with an abundance of caution and that his comments do not indicate any complications with Bell's recovery.

Bell was one of several high-profile players taken out by the Bengals defense. His injury was caused by linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown were also injured by members of the Bengals defense.

DeAngelo Williams, who was also sidelined with injury before the Steelers playoff run ended, had a respectable 200 carries for 907 yards this season. Williams proved his worth in 2015, and could have to do the same in 2016, but the hope is Bell, and Maurkice Pouncey, all return to full health by Week 1 of the 2016 regular season to make the Steelers' offense the most prolific in the NFL.