When Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart is injured, he’ll typically say he expects to play in the next game, just like he expects to play every game.
Those Sundays sometimes come and go without Stewart on the field.
Wednesday, after participating fully in practice, Stewart was more definitive in saying he will play, and start, for the Panthers this week at Green Bay.
Stewart said he “felt pretty good” on the practice field Wednesday, more than three weeks after suffering a knee sprain against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 21.
“Jonathan looked good. He had a good day,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “We’ll see how he is (Thursday), but he took the majority of the reps. He took all the reps that were slated for him as well.
“I’m excited to see him on the football field and hopefully there’s no residual (Thursday) and he’ll be ready to roll again at practice.”
Wednesday was Stewart’s first fully padded practice since before his injury. He practiced in a limited capacity last week and was considered a game-time decision by Rivera for the Bengals game.
Stewart has rushed 29 times for 88 yards and one touchdown in his three games this season.
Fellow running back DeAngelo Williams made an appearance at practice but did not participate. He worked on the side with trainers and had his ankle heavily taped, but he wasn’t in the walking boot that he had worn for two weeks since suffering a high ankle sprain against Baltimore.
Running back Fozzy Whittaker, who had nine rushes for 25 yards and two catches for 27 ayrds before re-injuring his quad against Cincinnati, sat out of practice Wednesday to let the inflammation calm down. He said he expects to play this week after liking what he was able to do last week in limited action.
“I felt like I was able to be authoritative, hit it downhill and just do what I needed to do,” Whittaker said. “Hopefully as the week progresses I’ll be able to do the same thing.”