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Carolina Panthers’ Steve Smith downgrades himself for matchup with San Francisco 49ers

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Steve Smith (USA Today Sports Images)

An offensively limited Carolina Panthers team really could use wide receiver Steve Smith on the field Sunday in their playoff matchup against the Sam Francisco 49ers.

But Smith said Thursday that he had a minor setback in coming back from a knee injury he suffered against the New Orleans Saints in Week 17. Smith told Fox's Peter Schrager that things didn't go as well in practice Thursday as they had Wednesday.

(An aside: That's a pretty precise estimation there, Steve. Never let it be said that you are not our favorite quote.)

Smith was limited in practice according to the team's official injury report, and even head coach Ron Rivera agreed that Smith wasn't quite his same self, per the Charlotte Observer's Jonathan Jones.

Smith hasn't been the same deep threat this season he has in Cam Newton's first two seasons but remains an important cog of the Panthers' offense. Defenses still roll coverage his direction, and the team has looked a little disjointed offensively at times when Smith is not on the field.

Smith has caught a touchdown in all but two of his eight postseason games with the Panthers in his career, and he has totaled 47 catches for 782 yards and seven touchdowns.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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