ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Mikel Leshoure's latest setback is nearly behind him.
The Detroit Lions' running back who missed all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon and is suspended for the first two games of this one was back on the practice field Wednesday after missing time because of a right hamstring injury. He participated during individual drills and then did some conditioning work.
"I just need to get on the field," Leshoure said. "I'm not thinking about a role. I just need to get out there."
Leshoure has missed most of training camp with this recent injury and he still hasn't played a down for the Lions since they drafted him in the second round last year out of Illinois. He missed his entire rookie season with the injury to his left Achilles. He'll be out the first two games this season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.
"It's probably one of the easiest positions to transfer from college to the NFL, because it's just running the ball," Leshoure said. "Protection is probably the hardest thing a running back needs to learn, but I've been here for a whole year and I've been learning since last year."
Coach Jim Schwartz pretty much agrees.
"Running backs, that instinct doesn't leave you," Schwartz said. "He knows exactly what to do. We know the instincts come back, it's just a matter of being healthy."
The 6-foot, 227-pound Leshoure scored 20 touchdowns in his last college season and looked like someone who could complement the smaller Best in the backfield. But neither of them has been able to stay healthy.
Leshoure hurt his Achilles during training camp last year, and that was the end of his season. This offseason, he pleaded guilty to marijuana possession in one of two marijuana-related charges he faced. The NFL suspended him.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press