Kenny Bell broke his leg 36 days ago and is already back on the Alabama practice fields.
Bell, who sustained the injury against Auburn and had surgery a few days later (he needed a rod inserted in his tibia), is certainly recovering much faster than anyone anticipated. Saturday, Bell dressed in a black non-contact jersey and carefully worked through drills alongside his teammates.
“He’s doing great,” said fellow wide receiver Kevin Norwood. “He’s doing his best to come back. I feel for him. This is something he wants to do. He’s practiced hard all year, back in the summertime, doing extra work and stuff like that. He wants to be out there with us.”
Alabama head coach Nick Saban said on Dec. 18 that Bell had been “cleared to start doing some things,” and “how he manages, what his tolerance is to activity, will be determined as we go.” Saban could not say at that time if Bell would be able to play in the national championship game, but he did not rule it out be any means.
It’s hard to believe that anyone would be able to recuperate this quickly after such a serious injury, but Norwood says this feat isn’t so surprising if you know Bell.
“Well, for some people it might be crazy, but I’ve been around him a long time and I know he wants this,” Norwood said. “H e wants to be out there with us. I know he’s working hard to be out there with us.”
Before getting injured, Bell was A.J. McCarron’s go-to deep threat. He had 17 catches for 431 yards and three touchdowns. He still leads the team with 25.35 yards per catch.
The junior is one of three wide receivers who have been sidelined with injuries this season: freshman Chris Black tore ligaments in his shoulder back in August (but has been back out practicing since late November), and sophomore DeAndrew White tore his ACL against Ole Miss.
Saban mentioned at the time that Black might play in the SEC title game against Georgia since Bell was out, but Amari Cooper took shots downfield to make up for the loss. Black will most likely redshirt, barring no other injuries before or during the national championship.
Bell has not been activated to play against Notre Dame yet, but his quick comeback is remarkable and eyes will be upon him next week during practices when the team gets to South Florida.
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