CHARLOTTE – Linebacker Thomas Davis and running back Jonathan Stewart are questionable for Sunday's game at the Baltimore Ravens, but Stewart and the running back position appear to be more in question than Davis and the linebacking corps.
"Thomas looked pretty good today. Jonathan didn't look as good as we had hoped," head coach Ron Rivera said. "We've got to go through the roster and figure out our situation and circumstances. We've really got a lot to think about the next two days."
Originally, Rivera didn't think Davis or Stewart would even be evaluated before Friday after Davis suffered a leg injury and aggravated a hip injury while Stewart suffered a knee injury last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But Davis managed to be a limited participant in practice Thursday and did much the same Friday.
"T.D. looked real good," Rivera said. "Right now, I feel pretty good about it, but tomorrow morning is a really big indicator, especially after the amount of work he did today. You really have to respond with the hip and make sure the leg is fine, too."
If Davis can't play, Rivera feels good about lining up A.J. Klein and Chase Blackburn with Luke Kuechly.
"Thomas is a good football player, but we also have a lot of confidence in A.J. and Chase," Rivera said. "Those two guys played very well for us last year, so we'll see how it goes."
Stewart saw his first action of the week Friday but "didn't have what he needed as a running back," Rivera said.
"But you just never know," Rivera said. "You get a little stiffness out, get a little fluid out, and all of a sudden you feel good about yourself."
If Stewart can't play, difficult decisions will have to be made at running back. DeAngelo Williams is probable after missing the last two games with a thigh injury, but with Fozzy Whittaker doubtful with a thigh injury, the only other healthy option currently on the active roster is rookie Darrin Reaves.
Thursday, Carolina signed running back Tauren Poole to the practice squad. Rivera said that Poole, who spent time with the Panthers each of the last two seasons, is ready if needed, but activating him would require cutting someone from the roster.
"Reaves is active, and he'll go into the game as one of our backs. As far as Tauren is concerned, we've got to talk about it," Rivera said. "We've got to look at our numbers and have an emergency plan and see how all of that shapes out depending on how we feel about certain other players playing different positions."
The Panthers' running game also could be without a key reserve along the offensive line. Tackle Garry Williams (back) is doubtful after not practicing this week.
The Ravens will be without starting left tackle Eugene Monroe, who could miss multiple weeks following a minor knee procedure, and starting tight end Dennis Pitta, out for the season with a hip injury. Pitta will be replaced by proven veteran Owen Daniels, but the Ravens will turn to James Hurst, a rookie out of North Carolina, to fill in for Monroe.