Panthers to bring back Davis slowly

Panthers head coach John Fox didn't shed much light on when he expects to have veteran running back Stephen Davis back on the practice field. "We've been through this (microfracture surgery) once before with DeShaun Foster," Fox said. "One of the things that we have discovered and the same with our doctors and medical staff is that initial wait before they start weight-bearing running and some of the things that can cause that to go awry is time."

"We prolong it as much as we can and let his knee heal and go from there. We are not assuming anything but we know time does help it."

Fox said even though the team has a decent stable of backs, he'd still like to have Davis playing a key role in the offense this season.

But don't be surprised if the Panthers work Davis into the lineup slowly this season, limiting his carries early in the season.

"We hold Stephen in very high regard," Fox said. "He is a guy who has proven himself not only to us but to everybody in the National Football League. He is a guy that we definitely want back, but we are not going to do anything to jeopardize his health or his career. We try to do what is right and not necessarily what is best for us."

Davis was limited to two games last year and eventually needed microfracture surgery on his knee. The three-time Pro Bowl running back remains confident he will be back this season.

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