According to a tweet from NFL insider Adam Schefter, Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart is scheduled to meet with a doctor next week to find out when he can resume football activities after being sidelined all offseason due to ankle surgery.
Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart scheduled to meet with Dr. Robert Anderson next week to determine when he might be able to play.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 22, 2013
It was reported a few days ago that the team may have to put Stewart on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list to start the season, but Ron Rivera didn't confirm or deny the report. While saying "at this point anything is an option" is typical coach-speak, it probably says that Stewart will be on the PUP list and miss at least the first six weeks of the season without having to explicitly state the fact.
Of course, the team hasn't directly said they're going to put him on the list. According to Schefter, they still believe there's a chance he will be ready before the first week of the regular season:
Panthers have not given up hope that RB Jonathan Stewart could be ready for their opener, but probably not realistic.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 22, 2013
It all depends on what Dr. Anderson says next week, but the last four words in Schefter's tweet are probably the most accurate way to describe the situation. It's nice to hope he will be ready before the Panthers take on the Seahawks in the season opener, but it's far from realistic to believe it's going to happen given that he hasn't been able to do anything with his teammates other than ride an exercise bike and dance at a Waffle House since his surgery last offseason.
In the meantime, be sure to keep an eye out for Kenjon Barner over these next two preseason games, as he may factor more into the team's plans than they originally thought.
As always, stay tuned to CSR for any updates on this situation.