|National Football League|
Leshoure back at practice for Lions
By NOAH TRISTER
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) 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 tendon. He'll be out the first two games this season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.
Although he won't be able to play right away, the Lions (No. 11 in the AP Pro32) can use a healthy Leshoure. Running back Jahvid Best is still out with concussion problems.
Leshoure isn't all the way back yet, and he isn't expected to play in Friday night's preseason game at Baltimore. But he feels he can hit the ground running soon enough.
"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 tendon 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 league suspended him.
This month, he's been trying to prepare for the season as best he can, with the hamstring bothering him.
"It's definitely frustrating," he said. "You've been out a year, you want to get back and play. I also know that it's a part of the game. You've just got to be smart about things and know that it's a long season."
It's not clear what Leshoure's timetable might be to participate fully in practice.
"He's been running on the side. He's been making good progress," Schwartz said. "Last week he was able to run a little bit, and it got a little bit sore on him after that, delayed us a couple days. But it's all just part of it."
Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
Updated August 15, 2012