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Bell desperate to return to the Senior side

Michael Whiting, AFL.com.au  November 30, 2017 3:21 PM

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Just five months ago, Brisbane Lion Tom Bell heard his leg "snap" and looked down to see it pointing in one direction and his body another. 

Bell said he went into "shock" and described the thought of rehab as daunting.

Yet at the Club's first 3km time trial of the pre-season on Wednesday, the 26-year-old was already back near his aerobic best, finishing second behind Nick Robertson.

Bell said the broken leg and dislocated ankle he suffered against Greater Western Sydney in a June NEAFL game was every bit as bad as it sounded. 

"You hear a snap and look down and your leg is facing one way and your body the other," Bell told AFL Media.

"I just went into shock straight away.

"There was a bit of pain involved, but for an injury like that, it wasn't as much as I thought it would be. 

"Our physios stopped me from panicking and they were great, which I'm so thankful for."

Bell had to wait a week for surgery, and literally couldn't move from his couch.

He said his partner and father were both huge supports during that period.

"I didn't move for a week," Bell said.

"Any little movement that happened, like them sitting on the couch, was absolutely excruciating.

"The pain wasn't initial, but once the swelling went down and the shock had settled, a few days later, that's when the pain kicked in." 

Bell had a plate with eight screws inserted, including a syndesmosis screw, to hold the ankle together. 

After months of inactivity, he began training in the off-season with Lions' athletic development and rehabilitation coach Selwyn Griffith, who he credits for much of his improvement. 

"I have a lot of belief in myself. I knew I was going to get back," Bell said.

"It would take a lot more than a broken leg to keep me down."

Bell has completed two weeks of full training and is now hell-bent on earning his spot back in the Club's best team.

He had already been dropped by coach Chris Fagan last season, but said it made him hungrier to succeed in 2018. 

Bell has played 71 games in his six AFL seasons for Carlton and the Lions and had to watch on as a number of youngsters progressed in his absence last season.

"I thrive off competition," he said.

"You'd prefer to be fighting for a spot than being comfortable and playing mediocre football. 

"The good thing with 'Fages' is he's a very approachable guy.

"He was very open and honest and told me I needed to improve or there won't be a spot in the senior side. 

"It's quite daunting at the time having the senior coach telling you how it is, but I think it works better in the long run.

"He's great at building relationships with the players and you would prefer someone who is open and honest and tells you how it is than someone who beats around the bush.

"You can't wipe the smile off my face at the moment. I'm raring to go."

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