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How to handle Le’Veon Bell injury in the 2021 NFL Playoffs

Even if Le’Veon Bell overcomes a knee injury to play in the AFC Championship Game, the Chiefs don’t seem likely to feature the former All-Pro running back.

Le’Veon Bell #26 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates his touchdown against the New Orleans Saints during the fourth quarter in the game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 20, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Game status: Le’Veon Bell is INACTIVE for the AFC title game.

Game day update: Le’Veon Bell is expected to be sidelined, but Clyde Edwards-Helaire is expected to be able to play on Sunday, per Ian Rapoport.

Though Patrick Mahomes’ health loomed over the Kansas City Chiefs all week, the team also faces injury issues among its running backs. One of those players, midseason addition Le’Veon Bell, has trended in the wrong direction this week and could miss Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.

Fantasy impact: Le’Veon Bell (knee)

Despite fears that Bell would take over the Kansas City backfield when he first arrived, he has only once played on more than half the team’s offensive snaps in a game. Bell’s production reflects that as he has only reached double-digit touches three times with the Chiefs.

While that could feasibly change Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, several factors work against him. His knee injury has kept him out of practice since Wednesday, suggesting the veteran back might need more time to recover before seeing the field again. Even if he can play, rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire seems poised to return after more than a month on the sidelines. If he can suit up, the Chiefs will almost certainly favor Edwards-Helaire over Bell for touches, perhaps even leaving Bell on the inactive list regardless of health. Additionally, Darrel Williams has performed well in his last two games and should still see plenty of action if Edwards-Helaire and Bell play.