Notebook: Mikel Leshoure still nursing hamstring injury; Shaun Hill back

Posted May 29, 2013

Tim Twentyman on Leshoure's absence, Ryan Broyles' recovery schedule, Jeff Backus' mentoring role and other observations from organized team activities

Mikel Leshoure has been conspicuously absent from the first two open OTA practices to the media, as he continues to nurse a nagging hamstring injury.

Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz didn't seem too concerned about the injury, but did admit it isn't healing as fast as he or the team has hoped.

Mikel LeshoureMikel Leshoure (Photo: C. Wywrot/

"It's something that's been nagging him," Schwartz said. "He's got a little bit of a hamstring and we'll get him back as soon as we can. This time of the year we don't want to push anybody, we don't want to push him onto the field and then get set back even further.

"It's taken maybe a little bit longer than we would've thought, but that's why we don't put time tables on those kind of things. We'll get him back there soon. He's working hard, he's just not working on the field."

This injury seems minor in the grand scheme of things, but the former second-round pick missed a portion of training camp last year because of a hamstring injury and missed all of the 2011 season with a torn Achilles tendon.

He started all 14 games he played in last year and finished with 798 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, but he didn't have a run of more than 16 yards and averaged 3.7 yards per carry.

He told earlier this offseason that he was approaching his pre-injury form, so missing reps – even in OTAs – isn't an ideal situation.

"He had times where he played very, very well for us, but I think you're correct in your assessment that he wasn't consistent enough over the course of the season," Schwartz said.

"Again, whether that's injuries, whether that's just basically being a rookie and learning how to be consistent from week to week, those are things that are on his plate this offseason.

"He has been set back a little bit. You know, he has nothing that's going to hold him back long term, but this time of year we always want to be careful with everybody and try not to push anybody back too quickly."


Safety Louis Delmas did not participate in practice, along with Leshoure, defensive end Devin Taylor (hamstring), cornerback Darius Slay (knee), receiver Ryan Broyles (knee) and receiver Brian Robiskie (undisclosed).

Broyles and receiver Corey Fuller (undisclosed) went through individual drills, but did not participate in team portions of practice.


Schwartz says there is no timetable for Broyles' return from a second ACL reconstruction, but said he sees a ton of similarities to last year's recovery schedule.

"There's no such thing as a target, but yeah, he's making good progress," Schwartz said. "He's working through. He's almost in the same position he's in last year with the exception that he knows the offense, he had a little bit of experience last year, he had some play time and he made some plays for us so it's just a matter of getting healthy.

"Where last year he was trying to get healthy and also trying to learn a playbook and try to sort of earn his way onto the team. He's in a little bit different situation; he's just trying to get healthy. He's doing a little bit more each day, but we'll probably be into training camp before we really see anything from him."

Ryan BroylesRyan Broyles (Photo: T. Altman/

Broyles was able to participate in training camp last year. He suited up Week 2 for the game in San Francisco and said he was 100 percent by about Week 4.


Backup quarterback Shaun Hill, who had minor surgery on a foot injury three weeks ago, was back at practice Wednesday.

"Every time you are taking reps or taking mental reps, you're learning," Hill said. "Offenses and defenses constantly evolve and those reps are valuable. This time of year is very important."


Former Lions left tackle Jeff Backus has joined the Lions coaching staff as a part-time coaching intern this offseason in hopes of trying to help some of the younger tackles along in their development.

The position, which is unpaid, seems like a good fit for Backus.

"We have a lot of respect for Jeff," Schwartz said. "The only game in his NFL career that Jeff Backus didn't start was the Thanksgiving game last year. He really embraced the leadership, mentorship role that was presented to him that week. It was probably just a little bit more of an extension of that. He's very interested in the guys that are still in the room from him, particularly the young tackles and he just wants to impart as much knowledge as he can to those guys.

"We certainly have a lot of respect for him as a player and what he was able to do. We think he's a great role model for the younger players and even though he's retired there's still something he can contribute. So we made it, even though he's sort of a coaching intern, we made it a little bit more of a formal position and I think the wisdom he's gained over all those years can help the younger guys."


The Lions claimed quarterback Thaddeus Lewis off waivers from the Browns on Tuesday. On Wednesday, they released quarterback Alex Carder.

"He became available and we thought he would do a nice job competing for us," Schwartz said of the addition of Lewis.

Lewis, 25, appeared in one game over his first three NFL seasons, starting the season finale for the Browns last year. He completed 22-of-32 passes with one touchdown and one interception in a 24-10 loss to the Steelers.

He went undrafted out of Duke in 2010.

The Lions kept three quarterbacks on the roster last year and Lewis will compete with Hill and Kellen Moore to see who falls in line behind starter Matthew Stafford.

It seemed unnecessary to keep five quarterbacks on the roster, which now stands at 89.