As training camp quickly approaches for the Carolina Panthers, one of the team’s key offensive pieces, running back Jonathan Stewart, may not be ready for the start of practices.
According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, Stewart is still recovering from offseason ankle surgeries:
Rivera says Jonathan Stewart is progressing well after offseason surgery on both ankles,but wouldn't say if he'd be ready for start of camp.
— Joe Person (@josephperson) July 11, 2013
The 2012 season was a bit of a lost year for Stewart, who dealt with injuries throughout the season. He played in just nine games, carrying the ball 93 times and posting a career-low yards per carry average of 3.6.
Last season was quite different than 2011, when he averaged a career high 5.4 yards per carry. With the surgeries out of the way, Stewart should have an opportunity to return to 2011 form.
If he is unable to fully recover from his injuries, however, the Panthers run game will have to rely even more on veteran Deangelo Williams, who posted one of the worst seasons of his career in 2012 (737 yards on 173 attempts).
Only time will tell to decide whether or not Stewart can get back to full health before the season begins.