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.
Steve Smith says his knee has gone from 71% yesterday to 57% today. That's right, 57%. "It didn't go as well as I thought it would."
— P. Schrager (@PSchrags) January 9, 2014
(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.
RR: 89's not his normal self yet. He's 57 percent. Did what he was supposed to at practice. See how he is tomorrow — Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) January 9, 2014
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.
- - - - - - -