The Panthers got some bad news on Thursday when wide receiver Steve Smith told the media after practice that he'd suffered a setback. Smith said he went from "71 percent to 57 percent, according to Jonathan Jones, who covers the Panthers for the Charlotte Observer.
Steve Smith said he went from 71 percent yesterday to 57 percent today. Without a grading curve he said he had a setback
— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) January 9, 2014
That doesn't sound promising for Smith's vow to play against the 49ers on Saturday.
The Panthers receiver practiced on Wednesday in full pads, and though his reps were limited, he felt good based on his comments to the media. He joked after practice that his sprained knee was at 71 percent, which explains his reference to that number on Thursday.
Smith strained sprained his PCL in Week 16 and hasn't played since. The passing attacking for Carolina suffered the next week against the Falcons, managing only 149 yards in air. If Smith is not available for the Panthers, the pressure will mount on Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn to give Cam Newton downfield options.