July 8, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Lions running back Joique Bell says he'll be back in action by time camp starts

Joique Bell missed all of organized team activities and mandatory minicamp as he continued to recover from left knee tendonitis that bothered him in 2013. (Daniel Mears / The Detroit News / Detroit News)

West Bloomfield — Confirming what he said during the offseason program, Lions running back Joique Bell said he expects to be ready for the start of training camp at the end of the month.

Bell missed all of organized team activities and mandatory minicamp as he continued to recover from left knee tendonitis that bothered him in 2013.

“Honestly, we were just playing it safe,” he said at his youth camp at West Bloomfield High on Tuesday. “I feel like if it was in season, I wouldn’t have missed a game. If what I felt during the last two weeks of OTAs and minicamp, if I had to go if it was in season, I would’ve been able to play every game at 100 percent.”

While Bell said he’s feeling good now, he did provide some more insight into his pain last season. Bell left the Week 10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third quarter and said after the game that the injury had been bothering him for weeks.

“My knee felt probably 10 times worse during the season (compared to this offseason), but you couldn’t tell it in how I played, even though that’s how I felt,” Bell said. “It got to a point last year where you have to just run it out, you have to grind it out. An NFL season is a long, long, long grind, mentally and physically.”

Bell, a Benton Harbor native who played at Wayne State, said his love of the game helped him battle through the injury. He finished the season with 166 carries for 650 yards and eight touchdowns as well as 53 receptions for 547 yards while sharing running back duties with Reggie Bush.

“As far as the mental standpoint for me, I love the game,” Bell said. “In order to play in this league, you have to love the game; you have to be passionate about the game. That’s what helps get me through the season — the love for the game, the love for your city, the pride for your city. And when I get out there and play, it shows in my play.”

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com
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