Significant news broke today concerning Carolina Panthers star running back Jonathan Stewart. According to Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, Stewart was cleared to officially practice with the team today [Monday].
This news puts a positive spin on week four as the Panthers prepare to face off against the 3-0 Atlanta Falcons this upcoming Sunday.
Stewart, who injured his ankle on August 26th during a preseason game against the New York Jets, had to sit out in week one and in Carolina’s week three matchup with the New York Giants, due to this nagging injury.
Stewart’s only regular season action was seen in week two, where he rushed for 51 yards on 11 carries in a win over the New Orleans Saints, Carolina’s lone win thus far in 2012.
Stewart’s return in week four will mean that Carolina’s triple threat at running back with DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert will be complete.
Good news for the Panthers, who need all of the help they can get right now after their week three let down against the Giants.
Stewart’s presence on the field during the week three loss probably wouldn’t have changed the outcome of Carolina’s on-field demise. All facets of Carolina’s offense and defense were way out of sink, resulting in a Giants thumping of the Panthers.
Let’s take look at the bright side though.
The Panthers are 0-2 in 2012 when Stewart is out of the lineup. His presence will affect Atlanta’s preparation in week four, as they now have to account for Stewart’s play making ability on offense.
Robert Kester, Carolina Panthers Columnist. Please follow @robertkester1