The Jared Allen Watch entered Day 4 on Thursday, with the veteran Carolina Panthers defensive end returning to the practice field for the first time since getting hurt in the NFC divisional-round victory over Seattle.
Allen, who broke a small bone in his right foot, practiced on a limited basis and his status for Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against Arizona remains uncertain.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said if Allen is sore Friday during the final practice of the week, he’ll likely be listed as doubtful. If Allen feels OK, Rivera expects to list him as questionable.
A team spokesman said Allen plans to talk to reporters Friday.
Allen, who has missed only three games in his 12-year career because of injury, went through individual drills during the portion of Thursday’s practice open to the media.
“He moved around a little bit, did some things and looked pretty good,” Rivera said.
Allen, who is tied with Julius Peppers as the NFL’s active sacks leader, has never played in a Super Bowl and is trying to convince coaches he can play this week. Rivera and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott were closely watching Allen on Thursday as he worked with the defensive line.
“We’re monitoring that on a minute-to-minute basis,” said McDermott, adding Allen is “fighting tooth and nail to get on the field.”
Rivera said Kony Ealy would start if Allen is out, and speed-rusher Ryan Delaire would be active.
Running back Jonathan Stewart, who injured his ankle against the Seahawks, also was limited Thursday. But Rivera said he expects to Stewart to play against Arizona.
Fozzy Whittaker, Stewart’s backup, was full participation after missing the final regular-season game and the first playoff game with a high ankle sprain. Whittaker has been returning kicks in practice, but Rivera would not say whether Whittaker will return kicks Sunday.