Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson is expected to be activated from the short-term injured reserve list Tuesday after missing two months with a hamstring injury.
Johnson, 29, has been practicing with the team for the past two weeks and is ready to go, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said.
“He’s worked very hard,” Rivera said Monday. “He’s been working on his conditioning, as well as his rehab.”
Johnson, in the fifth year of a six-year, $76 million contract, ranks second behind Julius Peppers on the Panthers’ career sacks list with 63.5. He had a sack in the Week 1 win at Jacksonville before reinjuring his hamstring Week 3 against New Orleans.
Johnson has been bothered with the hamstring issue since the preseason.
The Panthers have had 22 sacks in the past six weeks and are tied for second in the league with 31 sacks.
But Rivera said getting an elite pass-rusher back on the field with fresh legs is important for a 10-0 team with an eye on the Super Bowl.
“Having him back and getting him back in the flow I think should mean some good things for us,” Rivera said. “As we go forward to this stretch, we want to have our best players available and it’s good to see him out there. Now we’ve got to mix it up and see what the best combination of guys is for us.”