ALLEN PARK -- With starting RB Jahvid Best likely to miss the first six games of the regular season once he’s placed on the PUP list, the Detroit Lions welcomed the return of second-year RB Mikel Leshoure to practice on Wednesday.
Those in attendance at the Allen Park facilities watched with anticipation to see how he’d look in team scrimmages, but unfortunately that time didn’t come.
Leshoure’s practice ended when the individual drills did as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury, which is on the heels of last season’s Achilles injury.
“He really hasn’t had any steps backwards,” said head coach Jim Schwartz. “He just hasn’t had two steps forward; he’s been taking half steps forward. He’s been making good progress. But like we talked about yesterday, you know that urgency for him to get on the field and be able to do some things, that window is starting to narrow.”
Leshoure “getting on the field and doing some things” would be a welcomed sight. Since taking the running back with a second-round selection in the 2011 draft, the team has yet to see him participate in a game.
Leshoure tore his Achilles early in training camp last year and has already missed the team’s first preseason game this season. He seems to be en route to missing the second as well.
“I haven’t seen him play football a whole lot,” said quarterback Matthew Stafford. “I can remember, he was doing pretty well last year before he hurt his Achilles in training camp. This year he hasn’t been out there that much. I know he’s anxious to do everything he can to get back out there.”
After Wednesday’s practice, Leshoure was swarmed by a group of reporters that looked like would-be tacklers. He was asked about potential set-backs, how he feels about missing time and several other questions relating to the injury-riddled start of his career.
Out of all the answers he gave, only a few words really hold value.
“I just need to get on the field,” said Leshoure.
At the moment now, the most optimistic target for Leshoure to take his first NFL handoff will be the preseason’s third week.
Leshoure will still be forced to sit out the first two weeks of the NFL’s regular season after violating the league’s substance abuse policy.