There are three big names to watch on the injury report for the Panthers this week.
Wide receiver Steve Smith, linebacker Jon Beason and running back Jonathan Stewart have all been absent from Panthers practice of late and the team would obviously like to get some good news about all three of them before taking the field against the Buccaneers. They’ll have to settle for two out of three at this point.
Smith, who has been out about two weeks with a foot infection, and Beason, sidelined for weeks by a balky hamstring, both practiced on Sunday. Coach Ron Rivera said that he thought both players would play against Tampa and sounded particularly excited by Smith’s work during the unpadded session.
“He went back to his normal practice mode–100 percent, all the time,” Rivera said, via Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer. “So it was a lot of fun watching Steve back on the football field.”
The news on Stewart was less good. He ran in a pool on Sunday, but hasn’t done any field work since spraining his ankle against the Jets in the third preseason game. Rivera said that he’d be evaluated throughout the week to see if the team can make it a full house come the opener.