Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best used optimistic and hopeful phrases Thursday in an interview with local reporters, revealing he took his latest battery of concussion-related tests Monday and that he will learn the results Friday. If all went well, he will be cleared for contact and ready to be activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list by Monday.
Under that scenario, Best would be eligible to play as early as Oct. 22 at the Chicago Bears.
Best said he didn't have an opinion on how the test went but added: "I'm just hopeful for the best, for tomorrow." Longtime Lions beat writer Mike O'Hara, who now writes for the team web site, tweeted: "Based on Jahvid Best's comments to media today, I'd be shocked if he isn't cleared to practice next week -- and play at Chicago on MNF."
With that said, an important segment of this story is still missing. Best said he hasn't had a concussion-related symptom in months and last took a readiness test about three months ago. He did not pass that test, just before training camp, despite his lack of symptoms. Why? And what might have changed since then? Best declined to discuss that question Thursday, saying only that his situation was "different" from others who have returned much more quickly from concussions.
Via Twitter, some of you have suggested Best and his doctors have been waiting for the one-year mark since his last concussion out of an abundance of caution. (Best suffered it on Oct. 16, 2011 and hasn't played since.) I'm obviously not privy to the details of Best's treatment, but the Lions have consistently said Best would return as soon as he was cleared by independent doctors. The strong indications we've gotten is that Best hasn't passed his test, not that doctors have prescribed a recovery timetable beyond that point.
With that said, it's not clear what will happen if Best isn't cleared Friday. By NFL rules, he must start practicing at some point during the three-week window that opens Monday. If he doesn't, he will be ineligible to play this season. If the most recent gap between tests was three months, you wonder if an additional three weeks would even matter if he doesn't get good news Friday.
We'll keep you updated.