News and Notes (8/29) — Smith, Mathews, Lynch, Collie and more

Steve Smith still limited by foot infection

There were conflicting reports on the status of Smith’s foot infection yesterday. Ron Rivera said that Smith was still on crutches, but that he was able to walk more on the foot that has required treatment since last Monday. While confusing, those two statements aren’t mutually exclusive. Smith could be on limited weight-bearing status and allowed to bear some weight while using the crutches.

Despite the report that Smith’s infection wasn’t a staph infection (which likely more specifically means that it wasn’t a resistant staph (MRSA) infection), it’s concerning that Smith is still not fully weight-bearing. It suggests that he may have needed a procedure to drain the infection, which often takes a week or two to fully heal. Smith may still be able to play in Week 1, but it may be another few days before he returns to practice.

Ryan Mathews cleared for more workouts

Multiple reports over the past two days have focused on the good news that Mathews received from the doctors observing his recovery. To be certain, it is good news that Mathews has been cleared to run and use his opposite side in workouts. But there’s nothing about that clearance that implies he’s far ahead of the original 4-6 week recovery estimate or that he’ll be ready for Week 1. Mathews admitted as much himself. Mathews’ optimism is refreshing and expected. But until we hear that Mathews has been cleared for contact, expect him to take every bit of the 4-6 weeks to return.

Marshawn Lynch missing practice with back spasms

Lynch was held out of last week’s preseason game and has yet to return to practice with back spasms. There’s some reason for concern with Lynch, as he’s previously experienced spasms severe enough to land him on the inactive list in pregame warmups. However, this instance seems minor and there’s no rush to bring Lynch back during the preseason. If he’s limited in the more important pre-Week 1 practices next week, it’ll be time to worry.

Austin Collie continues to recover

A local television reporter snapped this picture of Austin Collie catching passes on the side during practice yesterday. That’s a great sign that Collie has no neurologic symptoms at rest and that he’s been cleared to exercise. Assuming he has no symptoms with exercise and shows no change in his IMPACT test, he could be cleared for contact soon. Though we should always consider day-to-day to mean something different for a player recovering from a concussion versus a player recovering from the normal bumps and bruises of football, Collie may in fact be more day-to-day than week-to-week right now.

Kenny Britt activated from the PUP list

Rumor became reality yesterday, when Kenny Britt passed a team physical and was activated from the PUP list in anticipation of his returning to practice this week. As I wrote two days ago, there are a number of off-the-field ramifications of this move. First, it’s likely going to force the commissioner’s hand to decide on Britt’s discipline this week. That could work in Britt’s favor, as he’s much more likely to be ready for extended playing time in four weeks than he will be next week. It also, however, will keep Britt from rehabbing at the team complex for the duration of his suspension. Given the somewhat spotty record of compliance with his rehab, it’s fair to wonder how ready Britt may be on his return.


I’m not buying the explanation that the Lions have placed Jahvid Best on the PUP list to ensure he avoids contact for a full year after his last concussion. Either you’re fully recovered from your previous concussion – without any neurologic symptoms at rest and with activity – or you’re not. It’s a convenient soundbite for reporters, but there’s no science behind an expectation that a player is more safe to return 365 days after his last head injury than he was at 364 days. I continue to hope for Best’s full recovery and safe return to play, but I’ll argue the same thing I argued months ago. There is currently no timetable for his recovery.

It was reported yesterday that the procedure Doug Baldwin had on his injured hamstring involved drainage of fluid near the injured muscle tissue. That’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that Baldwin’s hamstring injury was severe enough to cause significant amounts of bleeding in the muscle belly and that the hematoma was still limiting his recovery seven days after the injury. The good news is that the drainage procedure should allow Baldwin’s rehab to move more quickly, though it’s unlikely he’ll be ready to begin practicing for at least another 1-2 weeks.

Marvin Lewis finally gave us a nugget of information on Bernard Scott last night, telling reporters that Scott will be cleared after his “hardware” is removed and doctors clear his return. That almost certainly confirms what had been speculated since early August, that Scott had a pin fixation of a broken bone in his hand. Pins are generally removed in 4-6 weeks. Scott’s injury occurred on August 2, putting him just shy of four weeks after the injury today. It shouldn’t take him long to get into playing shape after clearance, but it’s possible he will not be ready for Week 1.

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2 replies

  1. The Jahvid Best thing makes me think of Sydney Crosby and the exceedingly long time it took him to be cleared after his concussions. Crosby suffered horrible symptoms for months and months….I have a hard time believing that Best isn’t as well if they are still holding him out.

  2. I agree with Chris. When the NFL gave a $1 million (the equivalent of $50 for the money that they should be pouring) towards the research of CTE and there is only one brain of among the 30 percent of the results released thus far that does not have evidence of CTE, this a terrifying issue for league. They know right or wrong, that too much said could create a media firestorm that alters football forever at a faster rate than the gravitational forces are pulling at this point.

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