FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Le’Veon Bell had his leg twisted during last week’s loss to the Dolphins, but he believes he’s on track to play Sunday.
“Definitely,” he said after practice Thursday.
The Jets running back is dealing with knee and ankle issues. He said an MRI revealed he has a sprained knee, but he was back practicing after sitting out Wednesday.
The Jets (1-7) officially listed Bell as limited in Thursday’s practice report, but he said he went through everything and had no issues cutting or stopping and starting. He expects to face the Giants on Sunday.
“I felt as good as I possibly could,” he said. “Hopefully tomorrow I feel better. Saturday I feel even better. Sunday I feel great. We’re all leaning toward Sunday, being smart about everything. I had a good load. I did a lot of conditioning, tried to make up for my missed practice yesterday.”
Bell said he felt something when it happened but didn’t want to come out of the game. He said the “adrenaline kicked in” and he didn’t tell anyone about it. After cooling down in the locker room after the game, Bell said he really felt it.
He said the pain was the reason he left Miami without talking to reporters. “I was frustrated I was hurt,” he said. “I couldn’t really stand and be talking the whole time. I was trying to get the knee right.”
It was the second straight game that Bell exited the building without talking to reporters. The previous week, he was frustrated because the Jets lost in Jacksonville and he touched the ball only 11 times. Bell was more involved in Miami, getting 25 touches.
“I still feel like I’m able to sustain more,” he said. “I don’t ever want to feel like they’re holding me back. I’m ready. It don’t really matter how many times they give me the ball. I just want to win the game, period.’’
The Jets had the ball at the Miami 2-yard line and surprisingly didn’t give the ball to Bell. They threw an apparent touchdown pass on first down that was overturned after a review and Sam Darnold threw an interception on second down.
“Obviously, I would like to run the ball,” Bell said. “I’m a running back, you know, so my own selfish reasons. But I wasn’t upset with the call.”
It’s been a rough season for everyone associated with the Jets, and it’s obvious it’s taking its toll on Bell, who signed a four-year, $52.5 million deal to help turn them into contenders.
Bell had never experienced this much losing in his NFL career. The Steelers went 53-27 in his five seasons in Pittsburgh. But he is remaining professional and trying to be optimistic.
“I understand it’s not ideal the way everything is going this year,” Bell said. “I still am optimistic. My rookie year we were 8-8 and we missed the playoffs by a field goal. I’m still hopeful.
“ . . . I want to go out here, win games, try to get better as a player, as a person, help my guys around me stay motivated, because at the end of the day, it’s still not over. Still play football. Go out there and do what we can.”