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Injuries: Jonathan Stewart set to practice Wednesday


The Carolina Panthers are getting healthy just in time.

Coach Ron Rivera told reporters Monday that he expects lead running back Jonathan Stewart to suit up for practice on Wednesday after missing the final three games of the season with a sprained foot, per's David Newton.

It's the news we expected after Stewart said last week that his plan all along was to play in Sunday's NFC divisional-round tilt, which pits the Panthers against the visiting Seattle Seahawks.

That's less likely for Fozzy Whittaker, who remains a question mark for Sunday after suffering a high ankle sprain in Carolina's Week 16 loss to the Falcons

Stewart's return would do wonders for a Panthers ground game that pounded teams all year. They'll need him against a Michael Bennett-led 'Hawks front seven that put the clamps on Adrian Peterson in the wild-card round.

Other injuries we're tracking on this action-packed Monday:

1. Big news out of Denver, where pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware returned to on-field work for the Broncos after sitting out practice last week to rest the knee he injured in a Week 17 win over the Chargers, per the team's official website. Backup quarterback Brock Osweiler (knee) also returned to the field ahead of Sunday's divisional-round bout with the Steelers.

2. In New England, quarterback Tom Brady "was not inhibited by his ankle when dropping back" during Monday's practice, per Phil Perry of CSN New England. Are you surprised? At this stage we're left wondering if the super-durable passer -- who claims he's never had a sip of coffee -- is even human.

3. The Boston Herald reported wideout Julian Edelman (foot) and linebacker Dont'a Hightower (sprained MCL) were present and "will play" Saturday against the Chiefs. Getting Edelman back would be a godsend for this injury-ravaged New England air attack.

4. Rivera also told reporters that Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. (knee) and safety Kurt Coleman (foot) should be ready to practice Wednesday.

5. Eagles running back Ryan Mathews recently underwent groin surgery, per ESPN's Adam Caplan. Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News added that Mathews is expected to face a six-week recovery time.

6. Steelers wideout Antonio Brown is in the league's concussion protocol following the hit at the end of Pittsburgh's win over the Bengals in the wild-card round. Coach Mike Tomlin didn't comment on Brown's status for this coming weekend against the Broncos. In addition, running back DeAngelo Williams' status for Sunday against the Broncos is in doubt, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. Williams is dealing with a foot injury.


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