Fox expects Smith back before end of preseason

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Carolina coach John Fox, who usually never issues timetables on injuries to players, made an exception Tuesday.

Steve Smith, who has an injured shoulder, will be ready to return before the preseason ends, Fox said. But the coach stopped well short of saying Smith will play in a preseason contest. I'm guessing he doesn't.

All that really matters here is having Smith fully healthy for the start of the regular season. He's Carolina's best player and it doesn't make much sense to rush him back onto the field or risk aggravating the injury.