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Ron Rivera: Jonathan Stewart on target for Week 1

Around The League opined in early July that Jonathan Stewart's recovery from twin ankle surgeries would be one of the top injury stories to monitor this summer. Unfortunately, updates on Stewart's condition have been sparse since the Carolina Panthers placed the running back on the active/physically unable to perform list at the onset of training camp.

With that uncertainty in mind, it was a pleasant surprise when Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Monday that Stewart still is on target to be ready for the season opener.

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"Oh yeah, based on what's been going on the last couple days," Rivera said, via the Panthers' official website. "I feel pretty optimistic."

One national report from two weeks ago suggested that Carolina had no clue when Stewart would be ready to return to the practice field.

We still have no update on when that return might occur, though Rivera's comments imply it will be sooner rather than later.

The Panthers have assembled the talent to make a playoff run this season. To make it happen, they're going to need Stewart as a third playmaking fiddle behind Cam Newton and Steve Smith.

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