Panthers HC Ron Rivera revealed Monday, via The Associated Press, that RB Jonathan Stewart will be held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday with a severely sprained knee. He will be reassessed on Friday.
Having already signed tailback Darrin Reaves from the practice squad over the weekend, the Panthers will have to evaluate whether to add more depth this week. DeAngelo Williams is expected to be back and would likely carry a big workload against the Ravens. The team will also be without Mike Tolbert who has a hairline fracture in his right leg. Tolbert's considered week-to-week but will be out for Week 4.
Monday, September 22, 2014, 1:18pm
Both are believed to be knee injuries but both are considered not serious, but it could leave the team thin at RB if either misses time. Fozzy Whittaker was inactive with a quad injury. That left Darrin Reaves, signed from the practice squad, to finish the game. DeAngelo Williams could return in Week 4 against the Ravens.
Friday, September 19, 2014, 7:09pm
Panthers RB Mike Tolbert (chest, probable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is probable for Week 3. Tolbert will once again be around to kill any upside for Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams.
Thursday, September 18, 2014, 6:30pm
Panthers RB Mike Tolbert (chest) returned to limited practice reps Thursday after missing Wednesday practice. Tolbert took a big hit to his chest in Week 2, but it looks like he’s making his way back.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 6:15pm
Panthers RB Mike Tolbert (chest) did not practice Wednesday. Tolbert took a big hit to his chest in Week 2. Consider him very questionable for Week 3. DeAngelo Williams is not yet back, so Jonathan Stewart may be startable again in Week 3.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 6:15pm
Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 9:25am
You don't have to look at game film to see the Carolina Panthers weren't effective in the running game during Sunday's 24-7 victory over Detroit.
Statistics -- 62 yards on 24 carries, the worst performance since Carolina had 52 yards on 21 carries in Week 10 of the 2012 season against Denver -- said all you need to know.
But if you look at the film, you'll see the same thing that center Ryan Kalil did after Monday's review.
Mike Tolbert was held to minus-four yards on five carries on Sunday.
"It's a little bit of the offensive line not doing a good job of being consistent,'' Kalil said. "We've done a really good job of pass blocking, but we just have to be better [run blocking]. We can't have a 'my bad' from one player on one play and then another guy the next play.''
That was the case for most of a day on which the Panthers improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2008. Of the 19 carries by running backs, 11 went for 1 yard or less. Seven went for negative yards.
Monday, September 15, 2014, 6:24pm
On Monday, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera had some encouraging news about Carolina's battered backfield.
"Mike Tolbert is OK. He is a little sore," Rivera said. "We'll see how he progresses with his treatment. "He kind of hyperventilated on the field because he couldn't get a clean gasp of air. He's pretty sore because he took a nice shot to the sternum."
Fozzy Whittaker pulled his quad, and Rivera classified the injury as "week-by-week."
DeAngelo Williams is expected to return to practice this week.
"DeAngelo is looking pretty good," Rivera said. "We'll see how he is on Wednesday on the practice field."
Friday, September 12, 2014, 7:30pm
Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (thigh, questionable) missed practice again Friday and is questionable for Week 2. Per ESPN’s Ed Werder, Williams is “not likely to play” in Week 2. In 11 games with Williams sidelined in 2009 and 2010, Jonathan Stewart averaged 102 total yards and 13.0 PPG in PPR formats. (This is before the arrival of Mike Tolbert.) Williams averaged 13.7 PPG in 17 games that Stewart missed over the last two years. Fantasy owners are understandably wary of the Carolina RBBC, but when Williams or Stewart are out, the other one tends to produce. Owners who need a spot start at RB2/flex (or need a cheap option in daily games) could do a lot worse than Stewart if Williams is indeed sidelined.
In 11 games with no DeAngelo Williams in 2009 and 2010, Jonathan Stewart averaged 102 total yards and 13.0 PPG in PPR formats. This is before the arrival of Mike Tolbert. Williams averaged 13.7 PPG in 17 games that Stewart missed over the last two years. Fantasy owners are understandably wary of the Carolina RBBC, but when Williams or Stewart are out, the other one tends to produce. Owners who need a spot start at RB2/flex (or need a cheap option in daily games) could do a lot worse than Stewart if Williams is sidelined. The Lions gave up 4.2 YPC last season, but yielded the 6th-fewest rushing yards (99.8 per game).
Thursday, September 11, 2014, 6:24pm
Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (thigh) was added to the injury report Thursday after missing practice. Mid-week downgrades are usually a bad sign, but we’ll see what kind of work he can put in on Friday. Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert would pick up the slack if Williams can’t play against the Lions. Stewart would be a RB3/flex type (with upside) with Williams out.
Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart reminded teammates, fans and upcoming opponents just how dangerous he is with the ball in his hands, rushing for two touchdowns in Carolina's 28-16 preseason win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Now he has to prove he can stay healthy. But if Sunday night was any indication, Stewart could be back in a big way.
He only ran for 26 yards on four carries, but his explosive 17-yard burst and his two TDs has Panthers coach Ron Rivera brimming with confidence when discussing a potential running attack that includes DeAngelo Williams, Stewart and Pro Bowl fullback Mike Tolbert.
Rivera said the Panthers have the potential to be "dynamic" if Stewart can stay healthy.
Stewart ran for 3,500 yards and 26 touchdowns in his first four seasons, but ankle and foot injuries limited the former first-round pick to 15 games over the last two seasons and his production has fallen off dramatically. He missed the start of camp with a hamstring injury. With Williams also in the picture, the two will constantly eat into one another's fantasy production. Factor in Tolbert stealing short TDs, and Newton's rushing ability, and the potential of Stewart - and Williams - seems capped in the RB3 range.
"Very excited about having Jonathan on the field," coach Ron Rivera said after Wednesday's workout. "He's healthy again. He's moving the way we need him to move. I like what we're getting out of him.
"Even Jonathan is saying this is the first time he's been healthy [in a while]. So that's a good thing."
Rivera said Stewart doesn't need to be a 1,000-yard rusher to be effective. He just needs Stewart to be more effective than he was a year ago when he spent the first seven games on the physically unable to perform list and then missed the last three games after suffering a knee injury at New Orleans.
"We need to be able to rush for 100 yards a game like we did last year," Rivera said. "That's one of the things that really helped us out [last season]. We ran the ball well, we controlled the clock, we controlled the tempo of the game."
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