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Injury Update: Carolina Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart Expected to Make Season Debut Vs. Atlanta Falcons

November 1st, 2013 at 12:32 AM
By Jesse Collin

Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart is expected to make his season debut against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Stewart, who underwent surgery on both ankles during the offseason, hasn't suited up in almost a year. But the sixth-year pro told reporters he feels good after practicing in full pads on Wednesday.

"It felt good going out there, hitting the field full-speed with some contact. And just running plays with contact," Stewart told the Charlotte Observer. "It's different from running sprints, pulling sleds, even just walkthrough practices, to full pads. Today was a good step. It was fun. Just good to be back out there in the huddle."

Fortunately, the tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert has held its own in Stewart's absence, giving the Panthers the luxury to ease No. 28 back into the offense.

Williams is currently 10th in the NFL with 477 yards rushing while Tolbert has scored five touchdowns (three rushing) out of the backfield this season.

Jonathan Stewart - Breakaway 

When healthy, Stewart, 26, is a top-level running back. He runs with power inside and speed outside, bringing a mix of Williams-and-Tolbert-like skills to the table. With nearly 1,000 career yards receiving, the 5-foot-10, 235-pound former Oregon Duck is also a capable pass catcher out of the backfield.

While unlikely to get a substantial workload on Sunday, Stewart should find some room to run against the division-rival Falcons. Mike Smith's team is currently the league's 22nd ranked run defense, surrendering an average of 114.1 yards on the ground to opponents this season.

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Tags: Carolina, Carolina Panthers, DeAngelo Williams, Football, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, NFL

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