Dec 22, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith (89) is helped up after being injured during the first quarter of the game against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Panthers WR Steve Smith suffers setback

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith suffered a sprained PCL during their Week 16 game against the New Orleans Saints.  He was forced to miss the season finale but it had been hoped that he would be able to suit up for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Earlier in the week, Smith said there was a “60% chance” that he would play, but that number has most likely taken a hit, if you take the receiver’s latest comments seriously.

Smith’s knee has regressed to the point that it is only about 57% healthy – quite the arbitrary number – down from 71% the day before.

Of course this could be a smokescreen – and an attempt to mess with the press– but it could be a big blow for Cam Newton and the Panthers if he is unable to go.

Smith is in his 13th season with Carolina and is second on the team in receiving yards (745) and receptions (64) and is tied for the team lead in targets (109) with tight end Greg Olson.

The last time Carolina and San Francisco squared off, Smith caught 6 passes for 63 yards.  The 34-year old – and the Panthers all-time leading receiver — has yet to eclipse the 100-yard mark this season.

Head coach Ron Rivera stated that Smith looked “pretty good” on Wednesday, per ESPN.com.

“He wasn’t that limited,” coach Ron Rivera said of Smith. “Probably the biggest thing was we really wanted to get him out there and have him running around, so we limited the number of reps he was out. But for the most part moving around, I thought he looked pretty good.”

Tags: Cam Newton Carolina Panthers NFL San Francisco 49ers Steve Smith

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