When Lions running back Kevin Smith went down without being touched against the Ravens last December, it was pretty obvious that he suffered a serious knee injury. The official news has been that he tore at least his ACL and possibly damaged other ligaments in his knee. Nothing was ever confirmed about the extent of his injury beyond the torn ACL. But either way Smith's recovery is ongoing and will still take some time.
Speculation about when Smith will be back has been running rampant all offseason. Some have pegged his return to be this July, in time for training camp, whereas others don't think he will be back until the start of the regular season at the earliest.
You can count Tom Kowalski in the group that doesn't believe Smith will be back until closer to the regular season at the earliest, as he thinks the Lions will put Smith on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list at the beginning of training camp. Kowalski also believes it's possible Smith could be on the PUP list at the start of the regular season, which would keep him out for the first six weeks of play.
With rookie Jahvid Best and veteran Maurice Morris on the roster, the Lions don't need to be in a hurry to rush Smith back and they won't. For that reason, it's possible Smith might be inactive for the first six weeks of the regular season. A lot of that might depend on how the rest of the running back position is looking.
Maurice Morris did a good job of filling in for Smith in the final few weeks of last season, and obviously everybody is excited to see what Jahvid Best brings to the table. A healthy Kevin Smith could mean for a solid stable of backs, but health doesn't necessarily equal effectiveness, which is why it's good that the Lions have solid depth at running back. Just because Smith can run doesn't mean he can cut effectively or be ready to go up against a live defense. In that regard his injury could keep him out longer than most expect, but even if that happens, the Lions have a couple backup plans in place.