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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Panthers' Steve Smith says he'll play

By on 1/07/2014 01:00:00 PM

The first round bye week has done a bit of good for the Panthers, particularly leading receiver Steve Smith. Smith, who sprained his knee in the early throes of week 16, is gaining confidence he'll be able to return this week against the 49ers, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer.
Smith's potential return would be timely for the Panthers, who will have their hands full hosting a stingy Niners defense. The two teams are similarly built and being down a top weapon like Smith could ground the Panthers' attack.

Of course, there are other factors, like how Smith is able to practice this week but it's an encouraging sign that he's now confident in playing on the knee. When you get a player in Smith's situation, a 13 year veteran itching for another shot in the postseason, it's really difficult to imagine any way Smith won't be out there on Sunday for the Panthers.

In the remainder of the game against the Saints and week 17 against the Falcons, the Carolina offense struggled to put up points without a true number one wideout in Smith. It's easy to see Smith's importance in the offense.

You can follow all the NFC South action on Twitter @nfcsouthinjury or me @robsirloin. In addition to covering the NFC South, I also document the misadventures of the Cleveland Browns for Dawg Pound Daily.


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