Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Thursday that rookie running back Le'Veon Bell has a mid-foot sprain in his right foot but the injury is not as severe as initially feared and he is "optimistic and encouraged" how Bell's foot has responded.
Tomlin said Bell would not play in a preseason game Saturday night against the Kansas City Chiefs at Heinz Field but would not speculate on a possible return date. But he said Bell does not need surgery and that the injury is not a Lisfranc sprain similar to the one incurred tight end Matt Spaeth two weeks ago. Spaeth had surgery to repair the tear and will be out at least 8 to 10 weeks.
"We are optimistic and encouraged how it has developed over the last 48 and 72 hours" Tomlin said. "He's doing some things without discomfort. All those things are positive.

"We don't have a long-range schedule [for his return]. We'll treat it conservatively with rehab and declare him out this week. But in the big scheme of things that is encouraging news."
Asked if Bell would be ready for the regular-season opener against Tennessee Tomlin said "I hadn't asked. It's just great to hear that it is what it is. It's perking up day by day."
Bell was on crutches in the locker room before practice Thursday but he said he can walk and put pressure on the foot without discomfort. He also has been doing some rehabilitation exercises including picking up marbles with his toes.
"I'm just taking it day by day and trying to get back as soon as I can" Bell said. "I'm already healing quick. As long as the process keeps going the way it is I should be back pretty quick."