Best hasn't been cleared to practice and he's still on the mend from a concussion he suffered last season against the San Francisco 49ers -- one of a string he's endured over his college and pro career. Popular thinking suggests the 23-year-old runner will start the year on the physically unable to perform list, but coach Jim Schwartz isn't ready to ship Best away just yet.
The Lions have until Aug. 31 to make the designation. The league is watching closely, and Schwartz isn't about to rush Best's return: "Particularly with concussions, time is always beneficial," he said. "You've seen that with a lot of other guys that have come back. (The PUP) would buy us time if we had to cross that hurdle."
Detroit's limp running game is a concern with or without Best, whose long-term health is the bigger question here.
Kevin Smith figures to see plenty of carries for now, but he's not the future. The team is still waiting for Mikel Leshoure to contribute. His young career has been sidelined by injuries and a league suspension, but he's in line to play Saturday against the Oakland Raiders. Characteristic of this star-crossed backfield, it would mark the first time Leshoure has carried the ball in nearly 20 months.