The Lions are hoping for better health from their running backs in 2012 after they got just six games out of the Jahvid Best/Mikel Leshoure tandem during the 2011 season.
All of those games belonged to Best, who missed the rest of the campaign after suffering a concussion against the 49ers. Best had a history of concussions dating back to his college days at Cal and he wasn’t able to do much of anything physically after getting hurt last year. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Best has finally gotten clearance to start working out. Schefter’s source tells him that he would be “shocked” if Best wasn’t able to fully participate in OTAs and training camp.
Leshoure tore his left Achilles tendon during an August practice, ending his rookie season before it had a chance to really start. He’s been rehabbing at the Lions facility and feels like he’s making good progress toward a return to the field.
“I’m feeling pretty good when I run,” Leshoure said to Tim Twentyman of the Lions website. “I have no soreness or anything like that – no pain. I’m not full-speed sprints or cuts or anything like that, but just jogging in laps and half-gassers across the field and stuff. It’s building up slowly and I can definitely see progress. I’m 100-percent sure I’ll be ready for the season.”
While that’s good news for the Lions on both fronts, they’ll need to make sure they have insurance in the backfield this season. Kevin Smith had some good moments last season and his return would provide them with a player who will take some of the workload away from both of the rehabbing players.