Schwartz says Best's six-week stay on PUP will coincide with doctor recommendations

Posted Aug 27, 2012

Lions running back Jahvid Best has waited 10 months for clearance from doctors to resume a promising young NFL career.

It’s been an agonizing 10 months for Best, who suffered his second concussion of the season last year in a Week 6 loss to the 49ers. Best told reporters this spring he hasn’t had a concussion symptom in over nine months and is in the finest physical condition he’s ever been in.

Unfortunately for him, that’s not good enough nowadays with the higher emphasis placed on brain injuries and concussions in the NFL.

Best will continue to wait for clearance until at least Week 7 of the regular season against the Bears as the Lions have placed Best on the regular season Physically Unable to Perform list. The designation prevents him from playing in the first six games of the regular season.

“Well, that’s within the range of where the doctors wanted him to be,” head coach Jim Schwartz said Monday of the decision to place Best on PUP. “So it made for an easier decision; it’s not an easy decision but it made an easier decision.

“We’ll just wait and see. Like I keep saying, he’s looked extremely good in all his physical stuff and as soon as we can get him back and get clearance we will.”

The Lions have been mum on what exactly the holdup has been in getting Best cleared. Best referred to it as a “personal matter” when asked by reporters earlier in training camp.

It could simply be a case of him needing to pass certain benchmarks on his baseline concussion testing before doctors sign off on him, but Schwartz indicated Monday that the doctors feel the entra six weeks will allow Best to be cleared when his time on PUP is over.

"That's what time they gave," Schwartz said. "I'm not going to say a whole lot more."

If Best comes off the PUP list after six weeks, it'll be more than a year since the concussion.

The tricky thing for the Lions when it comes to Best is that his concussion and the way the team handles it has become the case study in the 'new NFL'. The league has a close eye on how this is all playing out with Best. Maybe that greater microscope has a hand in a more conservative approach being taken by doctors or the team.

Only a few people, including Best, know for sure.

Whatever the reason for Best going on PUP, it’s a big blow to the Lions offense. Aside from receiver Calvin Johnson, Best is the biggest matchup problem for opposing defenses. His skills as a receiver and his speed in the open field are two things that’ll be sorely missed the first six weeks of the season.

The hope for the Lions has to be that the extra time will allow whatever is holding Best back to go away and they’ll have one of their top playmakers back. If it doesn’t, the Lions just got a little worse on offense.

The Lions also placed rookie cornerback Chris Greenwood on PUP. The team's fifth-round pick in April's NFL Draft tore an abdominal muscle in OTAs and has yet to be cleared for practice.

The team also placed offensive tackle Jonathan Scott and center/guard Bill Nagy on the injured reserve list, ending their 2012 seasons, and released receiver Dominique Curry and safety Isaac Madison.

That puts the Lions at 74 players on their roster, which leaves room for the reported trade for Redskins cornerback Kevin Barnes when that becomes official with the league. The Detroit Lions have not announced a trade, which was first reported by the Washington Examiner.