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- Steve Smith Returns for Panthers

Chris Pokorny August 15, 2006
Chris Pokorny
PFC Owner & Writer

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The Carolina Panthers' fans received good news after learning that WR Steve Smith had returned to practice Tuesday. Smith had missed the past two weeks of camp due to a strained hamstring, and did not play in this past week's preseason game against the Buffalo Bills. Smith looked like himself in practice, catching everything that was thrown his way.

"He jumped right in and took off just like he's been there every day," said Panthers wide receivers coach Richard Williamson.

Jake Delhomme, who had success without Smith against the Bills, realizes how important the talented receiver is to their team, especially with how well he did last year in catching 12 touchdowns.

"When he comes out to practice or to play, that is what makes him great -- that competitive drive inside that he wants to be the best," said Delhomme.

At the moment, it's unclear whether or not he'll be able to play against the Jacksonville Jaguars this Saturday. Although head coach John Fox feels that he's ready to come back, it simply may not be worth the risk at this point.

"I never like when anybody is on the shelf, but sometimes you've just got to do that to get the guy healthy," said Fox. "We are trying to get ready for a full NFL season, so we're going to be very cautious.

"You have to be medically smart," Fox said. "You understand that each one of these guys is different. They have their own personality. They have their own tolerance for pain. Sometimes you have to pull the reins in and sometimes you have to get the spurs out. But in his case, it's more that you have to pull the reins in. We were cautious about when to let him out."

PFC Fantasy Advice: When Smith injured his hamstring, we knew he'd be back in plenty of time. There's no need to alter your gameplan in fantasy drafts at all, as he'll be fine by the start of the regular season.


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