RB Jonathan Stewart misses game

Carolina Panthers
running back Jonathan Stewart wasn't in uniform for Sunday's 16-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"Sorry panther fans but it Looks like I'll be missing the game opener this year due to my recent ankle sprain! I'll be helping my team today by cheering them on! lets go panthers!! #panther-nation," Stewart wrote on his Facebook page, according to NFL.com, before the game.

Stewart, listed as questionable Friday, has been nursing an ankle injury since Carolina's third preseason game and has not practiced fully since the injury last month.

Stewart came off the bench last season and rushed for 761 yards and four touchdowns for the Panthers, earning a five-year contract extension in training camp.

DeAngelo Williams start at running back as usual for the Panthers but has minus-1 yard on six carries.

Stewart is often used to spell Williams and in third-down situations. Despite playing in a reserve role, Stewart wound up with more touches than Williams last year because he was so valuable as a receiver.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.