Bell struggled through the first half of last season, averaging 3.2 yards per carry. But after the team's bye, he improved to 4.4 yards per carry. Bell is confident he can be that second-half back all season.
"This year, I expect to come into the season healthy," he said. "I think I can be that guy when I get back."
The Lions are expecting Bell to be the primary running back once he is healthy.
"I can just tell you that there are no guarantees," Caldwell said. "You just don't know in this league. He's young, he's strong, he's one of those guys that has always been a workhorse, and we fully expect him to come back and be what he was last year for us, and that was a bell cow.
"He was a tough, hard-nosed guy that set a great tone for us, so we're anticipating that exact same sort of effort. He feels he's close, so I feel good about that."
Bell is on the Physically Unable to Perform List after missing all of the team's offseason practices due to the surgeries.
Bell sat out all offseason practices after undergoing surgery for an issue that he has yet to divulge. But Bell did have problems with his knee and Achilles last year.
He should be set as the No. 1 option out of the backfield in 2015 after the release of Reggie Bush, though rookie second-round pick Ameer Abdullah could push him.
Bell has made a rather lofty prediction for 2015, particularly for a guy that has never rushed for more than 860 yards in a season. He claims he will exceed that by plenty.
"I'm going to rush for over 1,200 yards," he told MLive.com. "That's the minimum. If I do less than that, I'll be surprised. I'll be disappointed. Anything more than that, I wouldn't be surprised at all."
Bell averaged a mediocre 3.9 yards per carry in both of the last two years.
Abdullah has received a good look with expected featured back
"I like Abdullah more every day," Lombardi told the Detroit Free Press. "He's a real pro, and every day, you can see him do things that actually excite you.
The second-round pick out of Nebraska has handled punt and kickoff return duties and has played mostly with the second team in OTAs. He has also flashed as a pass-catcher.
"He didn't get a chance, maybe, to show everything he can do as a receiver at Nebraska, but he's even better in that phase of the game than I thought when we drafted him," Lombardi said. "So it was kind of a bonus."
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