Sep 16, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart (28) runs the ball before being brought down by the New Orleans Saints defense during the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers: Jonathan Stewart To The PUP?

The news continue to worsen for injured Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart.

He will be unavailable when the Panthers travel to Baltimore on Thursday to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens.

The 2013 preseason has been a struggle for Stewart, who has yet to practice this season after undergoing surgery on both ankles during the offseason. With Stewart’s injuries continuing to take time to heal, he may miss a considerable amount of time in the regular season.

Right now, it appears as if he is headed toward the PUP (physically unable to perform) list, which would make him unavailable for the first six regular season games.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera had this to say after Tuesday’s practice:

“At this point anything is an option,” Rivera said following Tuesday’s practice. “What you’re hoping is you can get him on the football field and we’ll see once the doctor gets a chance to look at him.”

If Stewart is indeed placed on the PUP list, that would open the door for rookie Kenjon Barner, who would assume the backup running back role.

Through two preseason games, Barner has just 42 yards on 15 attempts, resulting in a disappointing yards per carry average of 2.8. He also has three receptions for 16 yards.

For a Panthers rushing attack that desperately needs a healthy Stewart in the mix, all signs point to him not being fully healthy at any point this season, putting more weight on Barner, DeAngelo Williams and Cam Newton’s shoulders.

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