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Friday, August 8, 2014

Panthers Injury Update: Jonathan Stewart expected to play before Week 1

By on 8/08/2014 11:30:00 AM

Injuries have become the story of Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart's career, with 17 missed games over the last two seasons due to knee and ankle issues. He apparently looked healthy during most of offseason work, but a hamstring issue has kept him out of practice to this point in training camp. Exactly when Stewart will return to practice is unclear, but he is expected to play at some point during the preseason.

Stewart has been a very productive player when healthy, as he averaged 875 rushing yards and six touchdowns per season while averaging 4.8 yards per carry his first four seasons (2008-2011). DeAngelo Williams will most certainly enter the season as Carolina's clear-cut No. 1 running back now, and the team has solid depth at the position (Mike Tolbert, Kenjon Barner, etc.).

Stewart obviously will not play in the Panthers' preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills on Friday night, and his status for the second preseason game on August 17 has to be considered iffy. Carolina's third preseason game, against the New England Patriots on August 22, looks like a likely target date until something more official is offered. If Stewart is unable to suit up for that game, then some concern over his status for Week 1 has to surface.

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