If that were not bad enough news for the Steelers, rookie wide receiver Antwaan Randle El had to be sent home for the day after exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
It's not the kind of news the Steelers needed as they prepare to host a key AFC North game this weekend against the first-place Cleveland Browns.
Head coach Bill Cowher said Wednesday that the team would evaluate Bell's status Thursday. Bell, who played sparingly in the team's regular season opener and not at all in the team's second game after spraining his right ankle in the preseason, was walking with a slight but noticeable limp coming off the field Wednesday.
Cowher said Wednesday that even if Bell is healthy enough to play Sunday, he would likely see action only in the base defense, with Clark Haggans continuing to play the rush end in the dime defense. Rookie Larry Foote would get his second start if Bell is unable to play.
Cowher said he sent Randle El, the team's second-leading receiver this season, home as a precaution and expects the rookie to be fine Thursday.