Lions running back Jahvid Best / KIRTHMON F. DOZIER/DFP
Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said he’s “a little bit surprised” and “a little bit disappointed” that back Jahvid Best still hasn’t been cleared for contact 9 1/2 months after his last concussion.
Best remains on the physically unable to perform list awaiting word from a team of doctors on when he can return. He said he’s been symptom-free for months and has been working out regularly since last December.
Best suffered two brain injuries last year, one in the preseason and one in an Oct. 16 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He also had at least one serious concussion three years ago during his final season at Cal.
“Everything was trending toward him being ready to go the first day of training camp,” Mayhew said before practice today. “It didn’t happen that way, so you have to kind of adjust. We have adjusted our expectation on that.”
Mayhew said the Lions aren’t at a point yet where they need to make a move to protect themselves at the running back position but will "be ready to pull the trigger" when the time comes.
“I guess there is that point,” Mayhew said. “I think right now it’s very early in to start making that kind of call. It’s up to the medical professionals to decide when he’s going to be available. Eventually he will get cleared. I’m very positive. I feel very comfortable saying that. It’s just a question of the timing of it is up to those guys.”
Along with Best’s concussion history, running back Mikel Leshoure is returning from a torn Achilles tendon that cost him all of last season and dealing with a training-camp hamstring injury.
Kevin Smith and Stefan Logan have taken most of the running-back reps in camp so far.
"It’s really frustrating and it’s like (coach Jim Schwartz) has said before, it’s not like a hamstring," Mayhew said. "This is a unique medical situation that’s different for every individual and it’s totally out of our control. It’s totally up to the best experts around the country. He’s got a battery of doctors; you get on a conference call and there’s 20 guys on the call. So he’s got the experts and those guys will make a determination when he’s ready to ."