Reinforcements are on the way in Carolina.
Just days ahead of their NFC championship matchup against the Cardinals, defensive end Jared Allen (right foot) and running back Jonathan Stewart (ankle) were limited at practice Thursday. Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said that they both "looked pretty good."
Rivera said to expect Stewart back on the field against Arizona. Allen's status is a matter of pain tolerance. He played the final two drives against Seattle last week with the injury. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said Allen is being evaluated on a minute-to-minute basis and expects him to be an 11th-hour decision, according to the Charlotte Observer.
"I don't want him thinking he's going to play no matter what," Rivera said Wednesday, via ESPN.com. "I've got a group of guys I've got to get ready to play with or without him.
"I don't want to give any false indications either way, because I want these guys focused in on preparing for themselves."
Rivera had previously said that Allen was doubtful, though Thursday's development has to be looked at as a step in the right direction. In 12 games with the Panthers this season, Allen has logged two sacks.
The Panthers continued their prolific streak of 100-yard rushing games even without a 100 percent Stewart, who missed roughly a month to end the season before rushing for 106 yards on 19 carries against the Seahawks last week.
Here are the other injuries we're monitoring Thursday:
2. The Patriots listed 16 players as limited in practice Thursday, including Danny Amendola, Jamie Collins, Julian Edelman,Darius Fleming, Rob Gronkowski and Chandler Jones. Safety Patrick Chung was added to the injury report with a foot injury, but was a full participant.