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Panthers' Jonathan Stewart 'ready' to play vs. Falcons

  • By Dan Hanzus and Marc Sessler
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The Carolina Panthers are about to add another name to their well-stocked backfield.


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Jonathan Stewart -- sidelined all season after surgery on both ankles -- practiced Wednesday and declared himself "ready" for Sunday's Week 9 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons.

Stewart's return comes at a time when there's some uncertainty surrounding running back DeAngelo Williams, who sat out practice Wednesday with a strained quad suffered last Thursday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Panthers figure to use some sort of backfield-by-committee if Williams, Stewart and Mike Tolbert are active Sunday. Stewart is going to eat, if for no other reason than to give the Panthers an idea of what he can give them this season.

Here are some other injury storylines to watch:

1. Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III practiced fully Wednesday after tweaking his knee in Washington's 45-21 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday, according to Grant Paulsen of WJFK-FM.

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2. Miami's shaky offensive line might be without right tackle Jonathan Martin, who's doubtful for Thursday night's tilt with the Cincinnati Bengals because of an illness. The Dolphins also listed rookie tight end Dion Sims as doubtful with a toe injury, The Miami Herald reported.

3. Buffalo Bills quarterback Thad Lewis sat out practice with a rib injury and the flu. Coach Doug Marrone said Lewis is "50-50" to play this week, leaving the Q-rating-challenged Jeff Tuel to take first-team snaps Wednesday. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that despite missing practice, Lewis is expected to be good to go Sunday, per a source informed of Lewis' rib injury. 

4. Also out of Buffalo: Running back C.J. Spiller, battling an ankle injury, practiced for the first time in two weeks on a limited basis. Fellow runner Fred Jackson sat out the session to nurse his sprained MCL.

5. Houston Texans back Arian Foster sat out Houston's session with a hamstring injury. His backup, Ben Tate, practiced through four broken ribs, but coach Gary Kubiak told reporters that both loom as game-time decisions for Sunday night's tilt against the Indianapolis Colts.

6. Falcons coach Mike Smith told reporters that it's too early to know if wide receiver Roddy White (ankle, hamstring) will be ready for Atlanta's meeting with the Panthers, per The Charlotte Observer.

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7. Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson was limited with an ankle injury, but we're not worried about his status for Sunday's game with the Oakland Raiders.

8. Santonio Holmes was seen doing individual drills at Jets practice after missing the past four games with a hamstring injury, per The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.). Pass catcher Stephen Hill sat out with a tweaked foot.

9. We'll mention that Larry Fitzgerald missed Cardinals practice with a hamstring injury, but the receiver's just resting ahead of Arizona's bye. We fully expect him to play in Week 10 against the Texans.

10. The New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski is dealing with a hamstring injury. The severity is not yet known, according to ESPN's Field Yates. The tight end was limited in practice Wednesday.

11. San Francisco 49ers cornerback Eric Wright, who had been placed on the reserve/NFI list for personal reasons, began practicing on Oct. 15. 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh told Rapoport that Wright's "done a real nice job, he's in a real good place now," and the defensive back could be back this week or next. Wright would have to be activated from the reserve/NFI list to join the 49ers' active roster.

12. Packers linebacker Clay Matthews could return to action for Green Bay sooner than expected. Matthews is due to have the pins removed from his thumb Monday, according to The Associated Press. It's entirely possible that Matthews could see game action Nov. 10 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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