WR Smith doubtful vs. Atlanta with knee sprain
by Steve Reed, AP Sports Writer
December 23, 2013 02:05 PM | 797 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Carolina Panthers' Steve Smith (89) is helped off the field after being injured in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Carolina Panthers' Steve Smith (89) is helped off the field after being injured in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers coach Ron Rivera says wide receiver Steve Smith is "highly doubtful" for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons with a knee sprain.

Rivera is optimistic about Smith's status for the playoffs.

Smith had an MRI Monday and it revealed a sprained posterior cruciate ligament.

Rivera says Smith "will be treated week to week. It was good news considering the alternative."

The Panthers wrapped up a playoff spot Sunday against New Orleans, but can clinch the NFC South division title and a first-round bye in the playoffs with a win against Atlanta.

Smith injured the knee running a slant route in the first quarter and was taken to the locker room for observations. He returned midway through the second quarter and ran one route before taking himself out of the game.

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