Mike Tomlin says Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell hyperextended knee, no structural damage

If Bell misses the Ravens game, the Steelers have little depth at running back.

Pittsburgh Steelers star running back Le'Veon Bell hyperextended his right knee and suffered no structural damage on a low tackle from Cincinnati Bengals safety Reggie Nelson, according to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.

Tomlin made the announcement during his postgame press conference Sunday night.

Bell is pivotal to the Steelers' offense and his availability for Saturday night's playoff game against the Ravens figures to be a storyline this week.

Tomlin exchanged words with Nelson after the game, but said that incident stemmed from what Nelson said and not regarding the tackle. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis got between Tomlin and Nelson to prevent the argument from escalating.

“It was not an illegal hit,” Tomlin said.

Emerging as arguably the top all-purpose running back in the NFL, Bell rushed for 1,361 yards and eight touchdowns during the regular season. He also caught 83 passes for 854 yards and three touchdowns.

If Bell is sidelined or limited, that's a bad scenario for the Steelers.

They haven't had quality depth behind him since cutting backup LeGarrette Blount after he walked off the field during a November game against the Tennessee Titans.

Rookie running back Dri Archer has rushed for only 40 yards on 10 carries this season, and Josh Harris has 16 yards on nine carries.

awilson@baltsun.com

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