One of the big questions for the Detroit Lions this offseason is at running back. On paper, the position has some pretty good depth and two players who seem like they have the potential to be very good. The problem is that both of these players are recovering from injuries. It's too early to tell for sure if Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure will be good to go in 2012, although the Lions are happy with where everything stands right now, according to team president Tom Lewand.
"I would say is both of those guys are healing well, both of those guys are tracking on pace to be ready to go for the offseason program," he said. "You always have a little bit of risk anytime a guy is coming off of injury, but we feel very, very good about where both of those guys are in their rehabilitation progress."
For Best, he needs to be free of concussion-like symptoms and be cleared for football contact. Also, he needs to make sure that coming back and playing won't pose a risk to his long-term health.
As for Leshoure, it's not necessarily a question of if he will be back, but rather how long it will take him to be effective. Former NFL quarterback Jim Miller touched on this earlier in the week. He dealt with a torn Achilles tendon in both legs during his career and said that it only took him five months to be "back running full strength." What took longer was getting his explosion back. That's key for a running back, but Miller thinks it's a blessing in disguise that Leshoure tore his Achilles so early in training camp.
"The ability to cut, explode and accelerate, those type of things, that’s normally the last thing that’s going to come. But because it happened to him so early in training camp, realistically, you would think that he’d be ready. He’ll still get stronger as the season goes along, but he should be ready to go by training camp. He probably just won’t have that last bit of explosion that he needs."
Hopefully this will be a situation where Leshoure regains that explosion over the course of the preseason or at worst during the regular season.