The injury report for the Panthers is trending in the right direction heading toward Thursday night's game. Three players who were listed on the practice injury report have been removed from the game status injury report and are expected to play. Quarterback Cam Newton, wide receiver Devin Funchess and running back Jonathan Stewart were all limited or absent from practice at various points throughout this short week, but there is no doubt about their statuses.
Newton continues to see limited practice reps as part of protecting his throwing shoulder. Stewart often gets a veteran day of rest each week, but this time, he was actually listed on the report because of his ankle. Clearly it was not a serious issue, as Stewart was a limited practice participant Tuesday and upgraded to full practice Wednesday. As for Funchess, he was listed on the injury report because of his knee but returned to practice as a full participant Wednesday. The Panthers were clear from the start of the week that the rest for Funchess was proactive and his availability for Thursday night was never in doubt.
Wendell Smallwood, RB (Q): The only player on the Eagles' injury report with fantasy football implications is Smallwood, who comes into Thursday night's game as a true game-time decision.
Last year, Smallwood suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his right knee, which ended his season in Week 14. Renewed swelling in the same knee sidelined Smallwood last Sunday, and he has not participated in any practice sessions this week. The Eagles' only real practice session came on Tuesday, as the team conducted walk-throughs on Monday and Wednesday. Smallwood's "did not practice" status for those two days was an estimation.
It appears the Eagles will give Smallwood until game time to see how his knee feels, perhaps testing him in warm-ups. It's fair to say if he is active he won't be at 100 percent; if he were fully healthy there would have been some level of practice participation and a status decision in advance of game time.
If Smallwood sits this one out, he will have an additional 11 days of recovery, as the Eagles don't play again until Monday night, Oct. 23. In his absence, the work could be divided, as it was last week, between LeGarrette Blount (14 carries for 74 yards), Corey Clement (seven carries for 17 yards plus one reception for 1 yard) and Kenjon Barner (five carries for 23 yards).
Be sure to check pregame inactive reports for Smallwood's final status.