Panthers coach Ron Rivera told reporters Friday Jonathan Stewart (ankle, PUP) could return to practice next week.The "earliest" Stewart would play in a game would be Week 9, though it sounds like he's trending in the right direction. Per beat writer Joe Person, Stewart went through his "most extensive workout" on Friday, and the team "wants to see how he feels tomorrow." Stewart has yet to be activated to the 53-man roster, and will be in street clothes for Sunday's battle with the Rams.
Rivera also provided an update on running back Jonathan Stewart (ankle), who was put through a "rigorous" workout with trainers on Friday.
"They kind of mimicked what he would go through in a game and they really put him under a lot of stress," Rivera said. "They had him cutting, breaking and turning. They had him pulling the sled. They put him through the paces of what he could expect going forward.
"How he feels in the morning is about as serious as it gets for us. If things are A-OK then we can get that clock started and get him ready to play."
If Stewart, who is currently on the physically unable to perform list, responds well to Friday's workout, Rivera said he could return to practice next week. From the moment Stewart returns to practice, the Panthers have three weeks to add him to the active roster.
The Panthers play the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay on Thursday, and due to the short week, Rivera said Week 9 against the Atlanta Falcons is likely the earliest Stewart would return to game action.