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“They feel funny, even in your stance,” said Bell, who took part in full contact drills on Sunday for the first time this offseason. “But it’ll help us out in the long run and I feel it’s already helped us out, so I don’t think it’s a bad thing.”

Offensive linemen are most susceptible to knee injuries because of the nature of their position. Aside from having to start from a crouched position, the players rely on their legs to get leverage in blocking defenders. There’s also a bigger potential for offensive linemen to have their knees cut out from behind or from the side, as happened to Wood during an 18-15 loss at Jacksonville on Nov. 22.

Wood was blocking one defender near the line of scrimmage when Jaguars defensive tackle Montavious Stanley made a diving attempt to tackle quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Stanley got only a piece of the quarterback and landed directly on Wood’s lower leg, bending it sideways, in an injury that was so gruesome that CBS elected against showing more than one replay.

Despite his reluctance to wear braces in practice, Wood said he’s becoming accustomed to them and just might continue wearing them in games.

“Oh yeah, the statistics show they reduce a lot of injuries. I was thankful I wore them in college. I had a couple of close calls,” Wood said. “I’m not a huge protester of them. They’re not fun to wear in practice, not fun to get used to again. But you deal with it.”


AP Sports Writers Jaime Aron and Stephen Hawkins in Dallas, Doug Tucker in Kansas City, Joseph White in Washington, D.C., Arnie Stapleton in Denver, Michael Marot in Indianapolis, Josh Dubow in Oakland, Calif., Mark Long in Jacksonville, Fla., Mike Cranston in Spartanburg, S.C., Gregg Bell in Seattle, Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tenn., and R.B. Fallstrom in St. Louis contributed to this report.