The Carolina Panthers held their second full practice of the week, and wide receiver Steve Smith was listed as limited. Smith suffered a PCL sprain in Week 16. He sat out Week 17, and has been slowly working his way back through the Panthers bye week. Smith met with the media and said he had suffered a bit of a setback on Thursday.
Steve Smith said he went from 71 percent yesterday to 57 percent today. Without a grading curve he said he had a setback— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) January 9, 2014
RR: 89's not his normal self yet. He's 57 percent. Did what he was supposed to at practice. See how he is tomorrow— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) January 9, 2014
Head coach Ron Rivera would not commit to anything with regard to Smith playing on Sunday.
Rivera says Steve Smith looked good and moved around pretty good. "He's not his normal self yet, but he did things he was supposed to do."— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) January 9, 2014
At this point, I would bet good money Steve Smith plays on Sunday. I also think that Smith's comments in particular could be viewed as some gamesmanship to keep the 49ers on their toes.
My guess is we'll see Smith listed as "Questionable" on the final injury report, but I can't see him missing his first playoff game since 2008. Ted Ginn has been very solid for them as a deep threat, and Brandon LaFell can make some plays, but Steve Smith and Greg Olsen are the keys to this passing attack (well, them AND Cam Newton!).
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