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Panthers hope to have Steve Smith, others back for Jan. 12 game

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith has done most of his rehab work indoors, but head coach Ron Rivera hopes to have Smith and the other two injured starters on the field next week and playing in the Jan. 12 divisional-round playoff game.

Smith sprained the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Week 16 against the Saints and missed the regular-season finale at Atlanta. Running back Jonathan Stewart has missed three games with a sprained MCL, and defensive tackle Colin Cole sat out the Atlanta game with a strained calf.

“Next week we’ll get them out on the field and then integrate them on Wednesday,” Rivera said. “They’ve been getting treatment.”

Smith has been doing treadmill, elliptical and underwater treadmill work. But he has not yet said he’ll be ready for the Jan. 12 playoff game.

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