RB Kevin Smith (right knee) and TE Brandon Pettigrew (left knee) have progressed as scheduled this offseason, and were far enough along in their recovery to take part in team drills during June's mini-camp.
Both said they should be 100 percent medically cleared by the end of the month, but the Lions are going to bring them along slowly. Team officials also made sure they had a backup plan in place -- they traded for veteran TE Tony Scheffler and drafted RB Jahvid Best .
In Smith's case, this year (his third) is a make or break season, especially with Best on board. Last season was a tough one for Smith physically (shoulders, knee injuries) and performance-wise (747 yards, four TDs). He rushed for 100 yards just once.
Pettigrew, however, was coming into his own with 15 catches in three games before his injury. The Lions are hoping to run more two tight end sets, and how quickly Pettigrew returns will be key in the implementation.
Great news for both players as they recover from serious injuries. A variety of players will be impacted (fantasy-wise) should they return at 100%.