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Carolina Panthers

Stewart questionable for opener


Four players are listed on the Panthers' injury report for the season opener against the Buccaneers.

Wide receiver Steve Smith (foot) and linebacker Jon Beason (hamstring) both participated fully throughout the week and are listed as probable.

Running back Jonathan Stewart is questionable with an ankle injury and offensive lineman Jeff Byers has been ruled out with a knee injury.

Head coach Ron Rivera said Stewart, who was held out of practice again Friday, has been planting and cutting, and that a decision will be made on his availability on Sunday.

"The nice thing is he's been in all the meetings, been in all the walkthroughs," Rivera said. "He's getting his mental reps and these are things he's done in the past, so there's reason for optimism."

Rivera added that if Stewart is healthy enough to play, he is comfortable putting him on the field despite not practicing all week.

"With the rotation of backs that we have, we feel we can put him in good situations as opposed to putting him at risk."

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