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Panthers linebacker Chase Blackburn returns to practice

Carolina Panthers linebacker Chase Blackburn followed a similar practice path this week as he did last week, sitting out Wednesday and Thursday’s practices but participating in a limited capacity on Friday.

Coach Ron Rivera said Blackburn responded well Friday to the new orthotics for his foot and will be a game-day decision Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.

Blackburn played 18 of the 50 defensive snaps last week against the Atlanta Falcons, coming out during passing situations. Should he be unable to go, rookie A.J. Klein could see a bulk of the snaps against the 49ers, who lead the league at 153 rushing yards per game.

“You want that big body in there, but A.J.’s had a really good week, so I’m excited for A.J.,” Rivera said. “And A.J. played well when he got in in the fourth quarter against Atlanta. He went in and made some plays.”

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