A week after looking like the DeAngelo Williams of yesteryear averaging 5.1 yards per carry, the Carolina Panthers’ all-time leading rusher may not play this week.
Williams is questionable for Sunday’s home opener against Detroit with a thigh injury. He’s been dealing with the injury since after Wednesday’s practice when he experienced some tightness.
He did not participate in Thursday or Friday’s practices, though he did run in the pool before practice on Friday. Still, Panthers coach Ron Rivera didn’t express his usual optimism.
“I’m concerned,” Rivera said. “Again he’s a running back and he’s got to rely on that burst. And based on the way he ran today, we’re going to have to see how he is tomorrow morning. If he’s just the slightest bit hampered by it we’ll have to see. It’s the burst that you’re always worried about.”
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Williams rushed 14 times for 72 yards against the Buccaneers last week, leading all rushers. A team spokesman said Williams declined comment Friday because he had hours of rehab and treatment.
If Williams is unable to play Sunday, Jonathan Stewart and fullback Mike Tolbert will shoulder the load for the rushing game. Stewart and Tolbert combined for 31 yards on 16 rushes last week. Fozzy Whittaker would also see time in the backfield.