Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers LB Thomas Davis returns to practice, but Sunday status unclear

The emotional leader of the Carolina Panthers’ defense returned to practice Thursday, but his status for Sunday’s game at Baltimore remains unclear.

Veteran linebacker Thomas Davis participated in a limited capacity Thursday after missing practice Wednesday with hip and hamstring injuries.

“It’s definitely a good sign, a positive sign,” Davis said. “But at the end of the day it’s all about being out there on Sunday and that’s what I’m working toward.”

Davis had a hip injury last week but played through it against the Steelers. In the fourth quarter of the 37-19 loss, Davis injured his left hamstring and did not return to the game.

But throughout the game Davis didn’t look like himself. His usual sideline to sideline speed wasn’t there, and he registered just three tackles.

“As a player, sometimes you have to deal with stuff and you have to play through some things,” Davis said. “My situation was no different. I had to play through it. I was dealing with something but nothing that any other player wouldn’t try to play through.”

Davis said his hamstring is bothering him more than his hip. He didn’t express optimism about playing Sunday but he said he’s getting closer.

Just having him on the field Thursday was a boost for the team, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said.

“Knowing that he’s doing everything he can,” Rivera said. “Guys feed off each other’s example. When a guy really tries to make an effort, guys get excited about guys doing that. It was good to see, especially Thomas because of his emotional leadership ability.”

If Davis doesn’t play Sunday, Chase Blackburn and A.J. Klein will flank middle linebacker Luke Kuechly.

“Chase has been around for a while,” Kuechly said. “Chase doesn’t even really need reps in practice to go into games. That’s something really nice is, they prepare each week as if they’re going to play and when their number is called they’re ready to go.”