Tide's Kenny Bell pushing hard to play

Alabama wide receiver Kenny Bell appears close to returning for the Discover BCS National Championship after sustaining a broken leg just more than a month ago.

Bell, who suffered the injury Nov. 24 against Auburn, has been practicing on a limited basis for the past week and could figure into the game plan against Notre Dame on Jan. 7 in Miami.

Bell was not made available to the media Thursday, but Crimson Tide starting wide receiver Kevin Norwood told reporters he expects the speedy junior to be "ready" to play.

Bell will have three practices in South Florida to prove whether he's capable of competing. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Louisiana native has been Alabama's best deep threat, averaging a team-leading 25.4 yards per catch. He had 17 receptions for 431 yards and three touchdowns this season.

"(Bell) is doing great," Norwood said before Alabama broke for New Year's Eve. "He's doing his best to come back. I feel for him. This is something he wants to do. He's practiced hard all year, back in the summertime, doing extra work and stuff like that. He wants to be out there with us."

Unlike some of his teammates, Norwood hasn't been shocked by Bell's swift return.

"Well, for some people it might be crazy, but I've been around him a long time and I know he wants this," Norwood said. "He wants to be out there with us. I know he's working hard to be out there with us."

Alabama coach Nick Saban said on Dec. 18 that Bell was "cleared to start doing some things" and that "how he does, how he manages, what his tolerance is to activity is will be determined as we go."

Saban added at the time that he couldn't "make a call as to whether he'll play in the game or not at this juncture." He has not given much indication about Bell's availability since.