Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/31/13
In the 11 months since Jonathan Stewart last appeared in a game, the Carolina Panthers running back has undergone surgeries on both ankles, put in hundreds of hours of rehab and logged countless miles on stationary bikes without going anywhere. But barring any setbacks, Stewart will be back Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. Stewart practiced in full pads Wednesday for the first time since last November, and afterward pronounced himself good to go. “I feel ready,” Stewart said. Asked whether Stewart likely would play against the Falcons, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said: “Yeah, he looked good.” Stewart has been on the physically unable to perform list since the preseason. He began practicing last week, but was never in the mix to play in last Thursday night’s game against Tampa Bay. Rivera said the Panthers want to see how Stewart responds to Wednesday’s work, and can wait until 4 p.m. Saturday before activating him for Sunday’s game. But based on how he practiced Wednesday, all indications are Stewart will play. “He just looked fast. Fresh legs,” Rivera said. “Seriously, he looked good. He made some really nice cuts. So it’s exciting. It really is.” “It felt good going out there, hitting the field full-speed with some contact. And just running plays with contact,” Stewart said. “It’s different going from running sprints, pulling sleds, even just walkthrough practices – half-speed here, half-speed there – to full pads. “Today was a good step. It was fun. Just good to be back out there in the huddle. Everything feels good right now.”
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