"It's not too bad, nothing too major," said Bell, who added there was no ligament tear. "I don't know the length or period of time, but it's not as bad as everybody thinks it is."
The second-round draft pick from Michigan State proved it by dressing in full pads and practicing in a limited capacity, participating in non-contact work with the other running backs. He sat out all team drills.
"I'm going to try my best," Bell said. "I can't make any promises, but we're going to see."
The ill-timed injury took place one day after Tomlin listed Bell and Isaac Redman as co-starters on the depth chart. Redman also left Thursday's practice early with a stinger, but like Bell, also saw limited work Friday.
Bell earned his spot alongside Redman atop the depth chart with an impressive training camp, displaying the patience, speed and physical ability to run within the Steelers' new outside-zone blocking scheme, and pass protect for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
The Steelers drafted Bell in the second round after parting ways with 2008 first-round pick Rashard Mendenhall in the offseason. Bell was brought in, not just to compete with Redman, Jonathan Dwyer and Baron Batch but also to help boost last year's 26th-ranked rushing attack.
Bell still is likely to have that opportunity when he returns.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press