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Jonathan Stewart might return to Panthers this week

Lost in Monday's angry beehive of injury news was Ron Rivera's update on Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart.

Rivera told reporters that Stewart is on schedule to practice Tuesday, and the coach didn't rule out Stewart for NFL Network's "Thursday Night Football" against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"We'll have to see," Rivera said Monday, per The Charlotte Observer. "He had a really good week last week, but again we're going to go through the whole procedure and make sure we're really doing things right with him after each day."

Stewart has been stashed away on the physically unable to perform list following offseason surgery on both ankles. His right ankle is the trickier of the pair, and we doubt he'll see action against the Bucs. A more realistic return date for Stewart is the PanthersWeek 9 tilt against the Atlanta Falcons.

In Stewart's absence, DeAngelo Williams has enjoyed a productive season as Carolina's primary ball carrier, averaging 4.1 yards per rush with Mike Tolbert seeing a sprinkling of snaps. Stewart's role is undetermined, but the crowded backfield is sure to cause headaches for fantasy types.

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