By Danny Cox
The Carolina Panthers are already dealing with playoff experience that isn’t very deep for their active roster, but at least they have almost their entire roster ready to go. As the Wild Card playoff game with the Arizona Cardinals approaches, the Panthers are looking healthier than they did through most of the season.
One of the biggest issues in 2014 was that of the running game. Most of the time, the two top backs for the Panthers – DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart – were out due to injury. Half the time, their replacements ended up injured as well.
Stewart has played better in the last few weeks of the season than he has in years. Now, Williams is actually looking healthy and is “ready to roll” again, according to coach Ron Rivera. Earlier in the year, he was dealing with leg injuries, but he’s missed the past four games with a broken bone in his hand.
Linebacker Thomas Davis is listed as probable for Saturday’s game against the Cardinals. While he has been hampered with some knee issues, he should have no problem being ready to play and doing so at a high level.
A few players are listed as questionable for the playoff game, but there shouldn’t be much of a problem there either.
Linebacker A.J. Klein was inactive for the season finale against the Atlanta Falcons, but is questionable for the game with the Cardinals. His knee injury should allow him to play as needed as it’s beginning to heal up more.
The same can be said for cornerback Carrington Byndom who has dealt with a hamstring problem. Carolina has him listed as questionable for Saturday.
The one other big name on the injury report is that of quarterback Derek Anderson, who has been battling an illness. This isn’t a huge deal because Cam Newton is going to be starting in the playoff game. He successfully played against the Falcons without any problems from the car accident that hurt his back a few weeks ago.
Should Anderson be needed in an emergency, he would likely be well enough to head out onto the field. Newton did every single drill in Thursday’s practice and Rivera says his quarterback is “on target” to start. The Panthers and Newton aren’t going to let a little bit of pain keep him off the field.
QB Derek Anderson – Illness
LB A.J. Klein – Knee
CB Carrington Byndom – Hamstring
RB DeAngelo Williams – Hand
LB Thomas Davis – Knee
For more Carolina Panthers news and updates, visit Carolina Panthers Central.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.