Leshoure back at practice

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Running back Mikel Leshoure returned to practice Wednesday for the Detroit Lions.

Well, sort of.

Leshoure took part in the individual drills early on, but again sat out the team portion of practice because of an injured right hamstring.

Leshoure, who missed all of last season because of a torn Achilles’ tendon, suffered the hamstring injury on the second day of training camp, July 28, and had missed 13 full practices.

He gets only partial credit from coach Jim Schwartz for his appearance Wednesday.

“Being back in individual isn’t being back on the field yet,” Schwartz said.

The Lions, who travel to Baltimore Thursday for a Friday night preseason game, don’t have a full practice again until Sunday.

Leshoure said the plan going into Wednesday was only to test the hamstring during the individual segment.

“It went well,” Leshoure said. “I didn’t do much. But my hamstring felt good. It felt good to be back out there.

“I’m just taking it day by day. It’s something we’ve got to take slowly. We’re going to do trial and error. Maybe in the next practice I might do a little bit more.”

Leshoure, a second-round pick in 2011 out of Illinois, still hasn’t participated in a practice in full pads since his Achilles injury early in training camp last year.

He’s expected to give the Lions’ running game a much-needed boost, when and if he returns to full strength.

“It’s just something you’ve got to be cautious about,” Leshoure said. “You don’t want to come back too fast and have it lingering throughout the season. It’s just something we’re being smart about it.

“You get frustrated sometimes. You want to be out there and play. But it’s a long season. It’s just preseason now. I just want to make sure that when I come back that I’m back and 100 percent and I can keep going. I don’t have to worry about that same injury.”

Although there apparently haven’t been any setbacks along the way, there also hasn’t been enough significant progress for Leshoure to return to action.

Ideally, Leshoure will be ready to play in one of the final two preseason games. He is suspended for the first two  regular-season games following two marijuana arrests during the offseason.

“He hasn’t taken any steps backward, he’s just not taken two steps forward,” Schwartz said. “He’s taken half steps forward.”

Meanwhile, the Lions’ other top projected running back, Jahvid Best, also remains out while continuing to wait for clearance from doctors after suffering two concussions last year.

“He’s still week to week,” Schwartz said of Best. “He can do a lot of our physical stuff. He’s not cleared for contact. He’s doing everything in his power to get himself right. It’s just a matter of time in a lot of those things.”

In the meantime, Kevin Smith has taken over the role as the Lions’ No. 1 running back with Stefan Logan, Keiland Williams and Joique Bell also in the mix.

Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche’s new book, “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die” is now available in local bookstores and through Amazon.com for $14.95.