Rocks-Paper-Scissors: Smith will play

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- You're probably wondering what percentage Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith put on his left knee following Friday's practice.

Try Rock-Paper-Scissors.

That's what the team's all-time leading receiver did to pick his percentage on Thursday when he downgraded himself from 71 percent to 57 percent.

For the record, Smith will be in the starting lineup when the Panthers (12-4) face the San Francisco 49ers (13-4) in Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game.

The team listed Smith as questionable, which means he's 50-50. Coach Ron Rivera said "my gut says he'll play."

Now back to the percentages. Smith picked 61 percent Friday after shutting it down because of rain following five catches. But he repeatedly said he would be all right for Sunday.

"Can I be honest with the number?" Smith told reporters surrounding him at his locker."I just randomly pick numbers."

So has he been playing possum?

"Yesterday wasn't as good as I expected, but as far as the numbers, I just pick numbers," Smith re-iterated. "Like I picked 57 at about 6:45 a.m. [Thursday] when I woke up to get treatment. Jeff Byers [backup center on injured reserve] said I should do 62. I said 57.

"So we played Rock-Paper-Scissors for 57 and I won. See, I have kids and he doesn't. I'm well experienced for Rock-Paper-Scissors."

Smith also is experienced in playing with the media, and he did a good job with his sprained knee that kept him out of the regular-season finale against Atlanta.

But as Smith said Monday, he will play. He hasn't wavered from that, although he jokingly said there was an "89 percent change he would play."

His jersey number, if you aren't aware, is 89.

"The unfortunate part about getting injured, whether you're an important piece or a non-important piece, life goes on," Smith said. "Game plans have to be made. Alterations have to be made just in case you're not able to go.

"That's the bad part about injuries. The real world still goes on."