Head coach Ron Rivera confirmed to The Charlotte Observer yesterday that star running back Jonathan Stewart is not suffering from a turf toe and said, “I’m not quite sure how to explain it, but it’s sore.”
Stewart will still be a game-time decision for tonight’s game against the New York Giants, which will start at 8:20 p.m. ET time. However, we will likely know Stewart’s status about an hour-and-a-half before that time. He is currently listed as questionable, but the short week has definitely not played in his favor and makes it seem unlikely that he will play.
Hopefully he does, because right tackle Byron Bell’s status is also up in the air tonight. If he doesn’t play, the Panthers backs will find it more difficult to run it towards the right side against Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka. DeAngelo Williams, Mike Tolbert, and Cam Newton will still lead a solid Panthers running game, but they will certainly be more potent with the star back available- even if he isn’t at full strength.
In other news around the NFC South, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released Preston Parker and have re-signed Tiquan Underwood (cut during the 53-man roster crunch) to fill Parker’s role on the team as the slot receiver. Underwood also brings value on special teams, so he will help out in that regard for Greg Schiano and the Bucs. Underwood is a very classy player, so it’s always good to hear that things are opening up for people like him.
“It’s one those things where if we’re playing on Sunday, he’s got a much, much better chance than he does if we’re playing on Thursday,” Rivera said. “He came out and it was still a little stiff, a little bit sore. They’re going to continue to work it out and see how he is.”
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