Ron Rivera “cautiously optimistic” Jonathan Stewart will start practicing soon


The Panthers ran for 131 yards on the way to a 35-10 win over the Vikings on Sunday, so they aren’t in desperate need of a jolt to their rushing game.

They might get one in the near future anyway. Running back Jonathan Stewart is eligible to be activated from the PUP list this week and he’d join DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert in the backfield whenever that happens. Coach Ron Rivera said Monday that he’s “cautiously optimistic” that Stewart, who had offseason surgery on both ankles, will be back on the field soon and that the team would make a call after seeing Stewart’s work Monday and Tuesday with trainer Ryan Vermillion.

“We’ll see. He’s at a point where he’s doing a lot more. But he’s been doing it on the side,” Rivera said, via Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. “Ryan will work him out again tomorrow and see how he feels and we’ll make a determination as we get ready for Wednesday’s practice.”

Person reports that Stewart said he’s still feeling discomfort in his right ankle and that he thinks he’d need a couple of weeks before he’d be able to play in a game. Stewart would be able to practice for three weeks after being activated from the PUP list so that wouldn’t necessarily hold the team back from getting him back onto the practice field. If they don’t activate him this week, Carolina will have two more weeks to make a call before they’d lose the chance to activate the running back at all this season.