ESPN's Adam Schefter wrote Wednesday that Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best is "likely" to open the regular seaon on the Physically Unable to Perform list, which would mean that Best can't play in the first six games of Detroit's season. Best last played on Oct. 16. He suffered a concussion that day and still hasn't been cleared to practice 10 months later. Best has suffered at least three concussions dating back to 2009, his senior year in college.
If Best ends up on the PUP, he wouldn't be able to return until Week 8 because the Lions have their bye in Week 5. This changes nothing about my thoughts toward Best. I figured this would be the case all along, and you should want no part of him. We now need to figure out which Lions RB is worth owning more: Mikel Leshoure or Kevin Smith ? And this seems to be an easy call right now because Leshoure can't get on the field. He finally returned to individual drills on Wednesday after two weeks off to rest a strained hamstring. This after missing all of last season because of a preseason Achilles tear. Leshoure has a lot of catching up to do, and his long wait to play will be made even longer while he serves a two-game suspension.
I think that makes Smith the starter by default. Certainly no Superman himself, Smith has battled knee injuries for most of his career. I think his bad knees are a function of his college days when he carried the ball an NCAA-record 450 times during his junior year at UCF. I would know, because I was there. Head coach George O'Leary literally ran Smith into the ground, and I don't think he's ever been able to fully recover.
But hey, remember that one awesome game he had last year against Carolina? Smith can be a three-down back and is probably a fringe RB2 as long as he stays healthy. I doubt he stays healthy for long, but what other choice do the Lions have at this point? You'll probably be able to draft Smith right now in the middle rounds, and that's really nice value for a guy who might start half of Detroit's games this season.