Uncertainty Surrounding Jahvid Best Continues

Lions’ general manager Martin Mayhew had some interesting things to say about the status of Jahvid Best this morning.

Per Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com on Twitter this morning:

Mayhew on Best: “I’m a little bit surprised, a little bit disappointed. Everything was trending toward him being ready to go the first day.”

MM on Best: “Eventually he will get cleared. I feel very positive and very comfortable saying that. It’s just a question of the timing.

Even more interesting is this tweet from Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press:

Mayhew talked of having conference calls w/20 docs to talk about Best. “The best medical professionals have to determine what makes him cleared.”

Mayhew’s comments come on the heels of the team’s decision to place Best on the PUP list to begin camp last weekend. According to Best (via Birkett again):

“I think just in terms of everything that’s been going around with concussions, it’s everybody’s being extra careful. If this was four or five years ago, I probably would have played last season. Now that everything’s under a thin microscope it takes a lot longer.”

Best didn’t offer a firm timetable on when he might return, but said it’s “hopefully days” before he gets full clearance.

I wrote this weekend that it was difficult to speculate on why Best has yet to be cleared. Whether there are anatomic issues, subtle neurologic symptoms that aren’t severe enough to prevent him from working out but are severe enough from allowing contact, or continued differences in Best’s IMPACT test scores from early last season is impossible to know without confirmation from Best or the team.

But it’s easy to question Best’s hope that it will be a matter of days before he gets full clearance.

I’m not certain I can reconcile the implication that a committee of 20 specialists remain unwilling to clear Best for contact after nine months, but that there’s still confidence that clearance will come within days. If Best is still experiencing symptoms – even very subtle symptoms – concerning for post-concussion syndrome, there’s no predicting when those symptoms will resolve and there’s no definite timetable for his return.

In short, you should read “eventually” as “we’ve no idea.”

Also, there may be more than one way to read Best and the Lions seeking the input of 20 specialists. Either they are being extremely thorough in their efforts to get Best cleared safely or there’s disagreement among some of the parties involved. If it’s the latter, I sincerely hope that Best and the team aren’t actively looking for a minority opinion that will clear him sooner than other specialists might.

If and when Best is quickly cleared to return to contact, I’ll be very interested to hear what changed after nine months of supreme concern.

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