Twentyman: This could be a big week for running back Jahvid Best

Posted Oct 9, 2012

Best will reportedly undergo a battery of tests this week to determine if he can come off the Physically Unable to Perform list next week.

This could be a big week for Lions running back Jahvid Best.

Best, who has not played since he suffered a concussion last season in an Oct. 16 loss to the 49ers, will reportedly undergo a battery of tests this week to determine if he can come off the Physically Unable to Perform list next week.

He’s eligible to return to practice following the Lions game in Philadelphia on Sunday, but will need to get clearance from independent doctors to be removed from PUP.

If Best does get his long sought-after clearance, he’d be able to play as early as the team’s Monday night game Oct. 22 at Chicago.

When the Lions put Best on the PUP list before the season, it made him ineligible the first six weeks of the regular season. After Week 6, a 21-day window opens during which he can return to practice while not counting against the 53-man roster. So the earliest a player could begin practicing is Oct. 15 and the latest Nov. 1.

If he starts practicing, a second 21-day window opens at which point he must be activated to the 53-man roster or be ineligible to play for the rest of the year. So the earliest a PUP player could be eligible to play is Week 7. The latest is Week 13.

“Well, that’s within the range of where the doctors wanted him to be,” head coach Jim Schwartz said of the extra six weeks the team bought themselves by placing Best on PUP before the season. “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.”

Best has been in meetings and the locker room and says he’s in the best shape of his life, despite not being able to practice.

The Lions offense has missed Best’s speed out of the backfield and his ability to turn a small gain into a big one.

"Obviously he's a weapon out of the backfield," quarterback Matthew Stafford recently said of Best. "Whether it's man coverage or zone coverage or whatever it is, the guy is really good with the ball in his hands and is really good in any man-to-man matchup as well.

"He's definitely a guy who was a chain-mover for us some on third down last year, being able to check down to him and let him get the first downs."

If Best is cleared this week, expect the Lions to set him loose against the Bears on Monday Night Football. These teams matched up on Monday night last season and Best had a career-high 163 rushing yards and a touchdown.

“I've been off for so long,” Best said in training camp. “I am definitely ready to go."