Panthers waiting to see if Davis will play Sunday

The Panthers still aren't sure if leading rusher Stephen Davis will practice on Wednesday or play in the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Panthers coach John Fox said Davis is still bothered by a strained quadriceps, and his status will be dependent on how well he responds to treatment.

The Panthers still aren't sure if leading rusher Stephen Davis will practice on Wednesday or play in the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

Panthers coach John Fox said Davis is still bothered by a strained quadriceps, and his status will be dependent on how well he responds to treatment. Fox misspoke on Sunday when he referred to the injury as a groin pull.

"It's a pull," Fox said. "Typically you just start treatment on those, and kind of play it by ear. It's day to day."

When asked how long it normally takes a player to recover from such an injury, Fox replied, "Everybody's different. It's the degree of the pull, the particular player and how they handle injuries. So there's no 100 percent right diagnosis."

Davis ran for 115 yards in the first meeting this season with the Eagles, a 25-16 Carolina loss. If Davis can't go, the Panthers will start DeShaun Foster, who proved again to be a suitable replacement on Saturday running for 95 yards on 21 carries.

"The coaching staff and players have had confidence in him all year long," Fox said. "When called upon, he's done an outstanding job. In a similar game against Indianapolis, on the road, he stepped in and did a great job.

"We have a lot of confidence in him. People don't know as much about him because he hasn't had as much playing time, but we don't feel like we drop off with him in there at all."

Although there's a public perception that Davis and Foster have different running styles, Fox doesn't view it that way.

"The similarity is they're both big, fast strong runners, that can run outside and inside," Fox said. "I don't see a lot of differences... I look at them the same."

Eagles coach Andy Reid agrees with Fox.

"I think they have two good running backs there," Reid said. "Foster is pretty good and I don't think there's a whole lot of loss there. They're different players. They've both very effective and both strong in their own ways. You just prepare that they're going to have a good running back. One way or another, there's going to be a good one there."

Although the Panthers brought Foster along slowly this year following a season-ending knee injury last year, Fox said Foster has improved as the season has progressed.

"He's very smart," Fox said. "He's got a passion for the game, he works at it very hard, both on the field and off the field. He's an intelligent young guy that's not afraid to work. He's gotten better every time he's been in, I think."

Either way, the Panthers are expected to have some decent success running against an Eagles defense that has allowed more than 160 yards per game on the ground over the past 12 weeks. However, the Eagles have defied conventional wisdom by winning 11 of those games. That, however, doesn't surprise Fox.

"I'm not a big statistics guy as far as yards, because really the game is measured by points," Fox said. "People have weaknesses and people cover up things and ultimately you're just doing the best you can as a coach to put your guys in position to win. If that means giving up rush yardage or pass yardage to do so you just do it. I think they've done an outstanding job as witnessed by their record."


Panther Insider Top Stories