It looks like the Carolina Panthers will be without star running back Jonathan Stewart against the league-worst Kansas City Chiefs, after Stewart injured both of his ankles in the Monday Night Football win over the Philadelphia Eagles. The Panthers poor season has been magnified by injuries to star players, and the injury bug has not been kind to Stewart. He has been bothered by various, serious injuries that have had a terrible impact on his play this season.
Even without Stewart tomorrow, the Panthers should still be able to defeat the Chiefs. The Panthers are definitely not a good team, but the Chiefs are clearly much worse. You can say whatever you want about Cam Newton, but he is much better than the quarterbacks that Kansas City has to trot out each week.
Stewart sustained a high-ankle sprain to his left ankle, which was the previously un-injured one. That’s bad enough as it is, but the running back also re-injured his right ankle in that game. He will make every effort he can to play against the Chiefs, and it’s a credit to his desire to play that he hasn’t simply been ruled out yet.
This has been easily the worst year of his career, and the 3.6 yards per carry average stems from poor blocking up front and, mainly, injuries. Stewart has usually been one of the best backs in the NFL, but this game against the Chiefs is one he can afford to miss- if that’s even possible.
Not only are the Chiefs just plain bad, but they are also subpar against the run. DeAngelo Williams hasn’t been good this season, but he should have a strong rushing day against that run defense. Mike Tolbert will also receive more carries, and he should be able to do some damage as well. I was highly critical of the signing of Tolbert this offseason, but he is familiar with the Chiefs as a former San Diego Chargers player and should have a positive impact for the Panthers in this game.
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