CHARLOTTE – The NFL injury report no longer includes a "probable" designation, but head coach Ron Rivera said the Panthers' two players listed as questionable for Sunday's game are expected to play.
Running back Jonathan Stewart and safety Dean Marlowe fully participated in practice Friday after being limited the previous two days. While Stewart (ankle) was added to the injury report this week, it's a big step for Marlowe, who hadn't fully participated in a practice since suffering a hamstring injury nearly six weeks ago.
Rivera indicated that Marlowe could well be active against the 49ers, giving the Panthers four safeties but also giving them more difficult decisions to make come Sunday when they must designate seven healthy players inactive.
"It makes it tough because somebody has to be down, and we have to figure that out," Rivera said. "We'll sit down with the coaches Saturday night and go through it and make sure we're happy with what we're doing."
Running back Cameron Artis-Payne was among the healthy scratches last week. Rivera said earlier in the week that could be the case again, but his confidence level in Stewart's health could play a role.
"We have to look at things and make sure Jonathan is 100 percent and we feel good enough about it to do that," Rivera said. "We'll see how it all unfolds."
Rivera said Friday's practice featured a good tempo, something he in part chalked up to his team getting into a routine after coming back from a Thursday night road game to open the season.
Rivera had hoped that as the reigning NFC champions the Panthers would have been afforded the opportunity to open at home but is excited about doing so now.
"I'm just disappointed it didn't work out that way," he said. "I really feel that it was a great opportunity for us to be able to honor our fans. For my five seasons, they've been great, they really have."
View photos from the Panthers' week of practice leading up to their game against San Francisco.