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Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Lions: Advantage to Joique Bell?

By Kevin Seifert

Garrett of Michigan asked what turned out to be a timely question during Tuesday's SportsNation chat:

"It's obvious that Reggie Bush will be the top RB for the Lions. But, how do you think they divide carries for Leshoure and Bell? Bell was better last season, but Leshoure is the 2nd round pick and last year was first year back from Achilles' tendon."

My initial response was that the Lions wouldn't be quick to mothball Mikel Leshoure, a second-round draft pick in 2011 who was their leading rusher last year despite a noted lack of burst. But it doesn't sound as if Leshoure has gotten his 2013 campaign off to a good start.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz acknowledged to reporters that Leshoure has missed two weeks of organized team activities (OTAs) because of a hamstring injury that has taken longer to heal than originally expected. The injury has set back Leshoure "a little bit," Schwartz said.

"It's something that's been nagging him," Schwartz said. "He's got a little bit of a hamstring and we'll get him back as soon as we can. This time of the year we don’t want to push anybody, we don’t want to push him onto the field and then get set back even further. It's taken maybe a little bit longer than we would've thought, but that's why we don't put time tables on those kind of things. We'll get him back there soon. He's working hard. He's just not working on the field."

You hate to get too concerned about nagging injuries in May, but in Leshoure's case, this ailment feeds a career-long trend of having trouble staying on the field. A torn Achilles tendon wiped out his rookie season in 2011, a hamstring injury limited him in training camp last summer, and an NFL suspension cost him two games last year.

The advantage in this case would have to go to Joique Bell, who as we've discussed was far more elusive than Leshoure last season. At the very least, Bell has had an extended period to put himself on tape as the primary alternative to Bush. The time between OTAs and training camp often serves to wipe the slate clean for injured players, but in this case, I guess we'll see.