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Panthers returning 3 starters for Saints game

AP - Sports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Panthers coach Ron Rivera says running back DeAngelo Williams and two other starters will return for Sunday night's key divisional showdown with the New Orleans Saints.

Both teams are 9-3.

Rivera says Williams, who missed Sunday's game against Tampa Bay with a quadriceps contusion, is ready to play and will start.

He also says defensive end Charles Johnson and outside linebacker Chase Blackburn will also return to the starting lineup. Johnson, who leads the team with 8 1/2 sacks, has missed the last two games with a knee injury and Blackburn has missed three games with a foot injury.

Rivera says reserve tight end Ben Hartsock will also play.

Rivera said guard Chris Scott remains out with a knee injury and linebacker Jordan Senn is doubtful with a hamstring issue.

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AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org.

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