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January 08, 2014

Steve Smith returns to practice at '71 percent'

Panthers receiver Steve Smith practiced Wednesday for the first time since spraining his knee two weeks ago, but it's still unclear how effective Smith will be Sunday against San Francisco.

Smith sarcastically put the status of his left knee at "71 percent," and the team's all-time receiving leader was listed as limited on the injury report.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Smith "was not that limited," although the team did limit the number of reps Smith took.

Smith sprained his posterior collateral ligament in the first half against the Saints on Dec. 22, and missed the regular-season finale at Atlanta. The Panthers' passing game struggled without him.

No. 2 receiver Brandon LaFell had no catches on five targets, while wideouts Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon combined for four catches for 22 yards.

While Smith and defensive tackle Colin Cole (calf) were limited Wednesday, running back Jonathan Stewart (knee), tight end Ben Hartsock (knee) and safety Quintin Mikell (thumb) practiced fully.

Stewart said he expects to play against the 49ers, although Rivera declined to say how extensive the playing time would be.

"It felt good, like I am definitely getting back in the groove again," Stewart said. "I felt pretty good."

Defensive end Greg Hardy, who missed Monday with bronchial asthma, returned to practice.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on January 8, 2014 at 03:45 PM | Permalink

Comments

hells yea. i would love to have him out there at 50% even. our wr's are below average with smith not on the field. gin is a good 3rd wr. lafell stinks. hixon needs more reps to be effective. thank goodness smith is back.

Posted by: zac jones | Jan 8, 2014 4:08:06 PM

There is no way Rivera or Smitty will publicly disclose how far along his knee is at this point. They will say he is limited regardless of whether its true. Thay way the 49ers will have to prepare for him at 100%.

Posted by: Jimcat | Jan 8, 2014 4:15:52 PM

lafell=Keary colbert

Posted by: Me | Jan 8, 2014 4:33:12 PM

I agree with 'Me'.

Steve Smith with his legs tied together and hopping down the field is better than a 100% Brandon LaFell.

Posted by: York S. | Jan 8, 2014 4:37:34 PM

can you say 'sandbag'?

Posted by: Jeff | Jan 8, 2014 4:39:24 PM

i would love to see stewart ball out and earn that check in 1 game sunday.

Posted by: charlottean | Jan 8, 2014 5:04:18 PM

Without Smith in the line up, the Panthers have a worse group of receivers starting than the NY Jets receiving corps. Changes will be needed in the off season via the draft or free agency to really improve this unit. Cam needs a lot more weapons than what he currently has.

Posted by: Whitecomet77 | Jan 8, 2014 5:13:01 PM

Without Smith, at a reasonably acceptable level of play, we stand very little chance of winning this game. I hate to say that, but it is really true. Just look at our offense against the Saints and Falcons. Abysmal.

Posted by: Ryan | Jan 8, 2014 5:42:03 PM

LAFELL SUCKS!!

Posted by: catfan1 | Jan 8, 2014 6:02:40 PM

Its time we got our moneys worth out of these running backs, If Stewart can play let him he has playoff experience that Keyjon Barner does`nt have yet,If Stewart can`t cut at full speed then Shula call some quick trap running plays straight ahead and let him use his speed and power to try and break one,Also I love Smiths fire but also have came to realize he can no longer carry us on his shoulders, No offense but its mother time, Look at the injury it was not from a hit but from his own doing. Ive said all year we need a solid #1 receiver on this team and move Smith to #2 receiver,Even at his age now he would be a hell of a #2 .All I`m say in is weve got to put the best product on the field to be victorious...Please don`t forget about Olsen he is a solid tight end that can get open..also Ginn... Hixon...Mc nutt..La fell..If any of the above miss handle the ball or drop more than 3 passes start throwing to another receiver or back,We must be consistent.It starts with Cam throwing accurate..quick reads,Dorsey have Cam ready with the 3 second 4 second clock in his head after the snap of the ball each play!!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | Jan 8, 2014 6:13:25 PM

wr position should be our main concern after locking up Hardy and possibly Cam.. I we take the same need approach as last yrs draft and this time we draft 2 wr's in rounds 1 and 2 followed by cb in 3rd then finally a big boy Tackle. if we can get Hakeem Nicks at a low price in FA sign him then draft 1 wr.

Posted by: Syracuse DJ | Jan 8, 2014 7:17:52 PM

"Me" above= every whiney-@55 Panther fan we unfortunately have on the band-wagon with us.

Posted by: MeKnowNothing | Jan 8, 2014 7:19:13 PM

I think every Panther fan would love to see Stewart to earn a paycheck. It's bad when it would cost the team more to let him go than to keep him. Oh yeah, LaFell sucks.

Posted by: CatDog | Jan 8, 2014 7:31:26 PM

There needs to be a contingency plan in case Smith cant get open or is not effective in the 1st quarter of the game,If he is just 75% that`s not going to cut it in a playoff game and Shula, Rivera you know this, Also him being a decoy wont cut it, If they see he`s not effective then they will clamp down on the other receiver which we have seen the results of,All Im say`in is we must be prepaired to substitute if neccesary ,There is no excuse not to be ready to make adjustments so we can be effective and be victorious in this outcome.I would start with Steve if he`s making plays stay with him, If he can`t break coverage and get separation or even get open then I would not hesitate to substitute with Hixon, Games of this caliber no receiver is going to say he can`t go 100% because he wants to play no matter what but I`m reading were he`s admitting 71% if that`s the case Hixon should be getting mad reps this week....ITS ALL ABOUT WINNING AND THAT SHOULD BE OUR MAIN FOCUS..Coaches us fans will be watching closely to see if adjustments are made ,We want this game and we just try`in to make sure you have all angles covered....GO PANTHERS....KEEP POUNDING!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | Jan 9, 2014 9:10:50 AM

Draft: find an explosive go to receiver!

Posted by: Big Rob | Jan 9, 2014 10:30:26 AM

PANTHER FANS YOUR TEAM NEEDS YOU TO BE THE 12TH MAN THIS WEEK...EVERY TIME THE PANTHERS SCORE LET OUT A LOUD WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!EVERY TIME WE MAKE A BIG PLAY LET OUT A LOUD WHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!WHEN OUR DEFENSE MAKES PLAYS LET OUT A LOUD WHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!OFFENSE MAKES A BIG 1ST DOWN TO MOVE THE CHAINS LET OUT A LOUD WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!SHOW SUPPORT FOR OUR TEAM AND KEEP THEM FIRED UP!!!WE GOT TO GET LOUD...COACHES ALL WE ASK IS THAT YOU HAVE A WINNING GAME PLAN DRAWN UP AND MAKE ADJUSTMENTS ON THE FLY...THIS ONE MY FRIENDS WE WILL HAVE TO PLAY FAST,SMART,AND CUNNING AT TIMES THEN TAKE IT TO A NEXT LEVEL.

Posted by: JOE | Jan 9, 2014 3:35:56 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

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