Steve Smith could return to Carolina Panthers practice Sunday in time for the start of Week 1 preparation, head coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday. Smith has sat out practice over the last nine days of preseason with an infection in his left foot. He is reportedly making steady improvement in his recovery, though he is still on crutches.
Analysis: The fact that Smith has yet to put any weight on the foot seems concerning, but it is probably safe to trust Rivera here. Smith isn't in any danger of missing the start of the regular season barring a sudden setback. He enjoyed a resurgence last season with Cam Newton taking over as the team's starting quarterback, recording 1,394 yards receiving after two straight sub-1,000 seasons.