Panthers receiver Steve Smith said it's not a matter of whether he'll play Sunday against San Francisco.
The veteran wideout said he's more concerned with his comfort level with his left knee.
Smith, who sprained his posterior cruciate ligament in the first half against the Saints on Dec. 22, said he would play against the Niners in the divisional-round game at Bank of America Stadium.
"It's not about can I go? It's about how confident do I feel when I am going? I will play Sunday," Smith said. "But it's how much of that I don't worry about the knee. That's when the confidence increases.
"And that's by still doing treatment, still doing things everyday to build that muscle memory, to know where my limit is on how to bend it and all that stuff. And truly, that only can be worked out by pushing it more and more every day."
Smith said he "crushed" his rehab Monday, when he worked out on the side during the Panthers' practice. He ran on a treadmill Sunday, and said he has begun cutting, too.
"Cardio's a little challenging," Smith said. "But the leg is pretty good. Cardio kicked my butt."
Smith said he expects to practice Wednesday. Even at less than 100 percent, Smith will help the Panthers' passing offense, teammates and coaches said.
With Smith sidelined for the Week 17 win at Atlanta, the Panthers' top three receivers combined for four catches for 22 yards. No. 2 receiver Brandon LaFell was targeted five times against the Falcons, but had no receptions.
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