Lions running back
“It’s just good to be doing something again,” he said. “For a while I was just flying around seeing a bunch of specialists and everything so it’s just good to get back around the guys and get back into another schedule.”
Best suffered his second concussion of the season Week 6 against the 49ers. His first came during training camp.
Best has racked up the frequent flyer miles over the past six weeks visiting five different concussion specialists from all over the country.
“It was just traveling and just trying to get all the answers we could and put them all down and formulate a plan from that,” he said. “It was kind of hectic but the good thing we got from it was that everyone kind of had the same answer. If it was just 50/50 it would have been really crazy.”
The conclusion agreed upon by all the specialists was that Best not play again this season. Best and the Lions adhered to that advice and Best was placed on season-ending injured reserve Nov. 30.
“They were saying that I shouldn’t play again this season and from then on take it step-by-step,” Best said of the recovery process. “Now we’re at the working out again phase seeing if any symptoms come up or anything like that and soon we’ll get back into doing all the normal stuff.”
Best categorized his workout Friday as “workout 101”, not wanting to overdue it on his first day. He said he expects to be back to full-bore workouts by the time the offseason roles around.
He's been symptom free for a few weeks and is anxious to see if he remains that way after increased activity.
“The hardest part about it is that you don’t necessarily feel any different,” he said. “If you have an ankle or a knee or a shoulder you can just lift it up and be like ‘Yeah, I can’t go’.
He described the first couple weeks as being in a “fog” and “not feeling quite right” but has felt normal for a number of weeks now.
Best has been dealing with concussions dating back to his college days at Cal. His college career ended prematurely after suffering a major concussion against Oregon State at the end of his junior season.
Best still entered the draft after that year and the Lions selected him in the first round (No. 30) of the 2010 draft.
Best totaled 1,042 all-purpose yards as a rookie, despite the fact he was hampered by two separate turf toe injuries for most of the season.
Best had 390 yards on the ground (4.3 average) and 287 yards receiving before the second concussion against the 49ers ended this season.
“(The specialists) said you never really know when exactly you’re fully over it so taking this long break will really make sure I’m fully over it,” he said.
“The biggest thing is you get one and it’s easier to get two. When you get the second one, it’s real easy to get the third one. So, that’s why we’re taking this cautious approach.”
But is there any concern about his long-term health and career moving forward?
“I’m not too concerned about it,” he said. “I’m definitely excited about the future and I have no doubts in my mind that I’ll be successful.
“We took a cautious approach and by the time next year it won’t be like the concussions this year affect me getting a concussion next year. There’ll be so much time between them that it’ll be like I have a clean slate again.”
The hardest part in all this for Best has been watching his teammates play for their playoff lives and not being able to help on the field.
“Watching the games is sometimes tough,” he said. “I’d give my leg to go out there and play and not playing and not being there for my teammates is the toughest part about this.”