Ron Rivera hints Steve Smith is game time decision for 49ers vs. Panthers

Dec 22, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith (89) reacts after catching a pass during the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Although Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith says he’ll be ready for their Divisional Round playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday, head coach Ron Rivera isn’t so sure.

Smith has went back and forth this week in regards to his ability to play, but came out Friday morning and suggested he would be on the field.

Rivera however hinted he’ll be a game time decision:

Rivera: “My gut is that (Smith) is going to play, but it’s about how he feels.”

Smith, hurting or not, is going to play in the game. The problem is how effective he’ll be.

A security blanket for Cam Newton, a less than solid Smith is going to be an issue for the Panthers passing game. Thankfully, the mouthy wide receiver still has just under two days to get healthy for the Sunday matchup, but as of right now he still looks to be hampered from a knee injury suffered in Week 16.

Here’s to an extremely speedy recovery.

Topics: Carolina Panthers, Ron Rivera, San Francisco 49ers, Steve Smith

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