The team announced Monday that Ngata, Detroit's big-bodied defensive tackle, was activated off the non-football injury list while Bell, the veteran running back, was taken off the physically unable to perform list. Both are expected to practice right away.
Ngata missed all of training camp with a hamstring injury, leaving the heart of Detroit's defense to play without their presumptive replacement for Ndamukong Suh. After Ngata was acquired from the Ravens for draft picks, the five-time Pro Bowl selection needs all the snaps he can get as he transitions from Baltimore's 3-4 attack to the 4-3 scheme run by the Lions.
Bell's time away has hurt his stock. Returning from offseason knee and Achilles operations, the sixth-year runner has yet to play in the preseason. In his absence, rookie Ameer Abdullah has shown the DNA of a backfield star, while Theo Riddick, George Winn and Zach Zenner have all made cases for themselves. The undrafted Zenner has looked especially dangerous.
"I'm a young buck," Bell recently said, per the Detroit Free Press. "If you want to be honest, this is my first year really (where I am) going to be carrying the load, so you can kind of consider me a rookie."
Bell hasn't been reading NFL.com. While he's a lock to make the roster, we wouldn't be surprised to see Abdullah take over as Detroit's starter sooner than later. Ngata, meanwhile, will be counted on from wire to wire to anchor a playoff-ready team that opens the year at the No. 8 spot in our Around the NFL Power Poll.