Tough time for Bell

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

At first glance you could not tell that Mark Bell had three steel plates implanted in the left side of his face.

To the naked eye the only evidence of Bell's surgically repaired orbital bone is slight swelling in the area of the left eye.

But don't let looks fool you.

Bell will be the first to admit he has a long way to go before he's ready to return to action.

Bell suffered a fractured orbital bone during a fight with the Pittsburgh Penguins' Ryan Malone during a Leafs' 6-2 loss at the Mellon Arena back on Jan. 3 and underwent surgery about a week-and-a-half later.

He was back at the Air Canada Centre yesterday, having started off-ice workouts earlier this week. But he cautions that he will not be ready to get back in the lineup any time soon.

"It's probably going to be another six weeks," he said. "The concern is about the physical contact and the damage that could occur. It's a very sensitive area."

Given his legal woes in California from a 2006 automobile crash and the ensuing 15-game suspension slapped on him by commissioner Gary Bettman, Bell understands that when it rains, it pours. "It can only get better from here," said Bell, who hopes to resume skating in the next few weeks.

LOOSE LEAFS

With Carlo Colaiacovo back in the lineup, defenceman Andy Wozniewski was made a healthy scratch for the game against the St. Louis Blues last night ... The Leafs called up Marlies forward Kris Newbury, who was on a line with Kyle Wellwood and Wade Belak in the early going ... Coach Paul Maurice did not mince words when the subject of the underachieving Wellwood came up. "(He's) been disappointing throughout, from his injury to his performance," Maurice said. "It's difficult to make things up when you've been out that long."

"I need to put up points and if I'm not doing that, I'm not going to see a lot of ice time," said Wellwood, who entered last night's game against the Blues with just 12 points in 33 games. "It's been a struggle all year."


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