Brooks: Backup plans
Bucky Brooks analyzes the impact of early injuries to notable players, including Ryan Mathews and Trent Richardson. **More ...**
Best, when he's healthy, gives the Lions speed and elusiveness off the edge, but a string of nasty concussions have all but derailed his career. He's started just 15 games over two seasons, and might not be ready to go for the opener on Sept. 9. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Wednesday that Best likely will start the year on the physically unable to perform list.
Best has yet to be cleared for practice after suffering multiple concussions last season. If the team stashes him away on the PUP list, Best would miss at least the first six weeks of the season, likely pushing Kevin Smith into the starting role. Leshoure returned to practice Wednesday, but he's been no more reliable than Best and faces a two-game suspension to start the season.
As Gregg Rosenthal pointed out, Detroit -- riding the arm of Matthew Stafford -- has little choice but to air it out this season in the NFC North. Anything they get from Best in 2012 feels like a bonus.