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Panthers' Smith questionable to face 49ers

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Charlotte, NC (.com) - The Carolina Panthers have listed Steve Smith as questionable for this weekend's NFC Divisional Playoff matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, though head coach Ron Rivera was optimistic that the veteran wide receiver will be on the field come Sunday.

Smith sustained a PCL sprain in his left knee during Carolina's 17-13 win over NFC South-rival New Orleans on Dec. 22 and sat out the club's regular-season finale at Atlanta as a result.

With the second-seeded Panthers receiving a bye in last weekend's Wild Card Round, Smith was a limited practice participant in the days leading up to Sunday's clash.

"My gut is that Smith will play, but it's about how he feels," Rivera told reporters Friday.

Running back Jonathan Stewart and defensive tackle Colin Cole are also questionable for Sunday's tilt, though Stewart seems likely to return from a knee injury after practicing fully throughout the week.

Stewart sat out Carolina's final three regular-season contests after tearing the MCL in his right knee in early December. Cole missed the Week 17 game at Atlanta with a calf injury and practiced on a limited basis on Friday.

San Francisco's only notable injury concern is starting cornerback Carlos Rogers, who sat out practice for a third straight day Friday with a hamstring strain that also kept him out of last Sunday's opening-round win at Green Bay. The 49ers officially termed him questionable on the final injury report.

Reserve linebacker Dan Skuta (foot) is also questionable for the 49ers, with key contributors such as running back Frank Gore (knee), wide receiver Michael Crabtree (wrist), linebacker NaVorro Bowman (wrist) and defensive lineman Justin Smith (shoulder) all expected to play on Sunday.

January 10, 2014, at 04:41 PM ET
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