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NFL Playoffs News and Notes

The  Carolina Panthers  listed Steve  Smith as  questionable for  Sunday's NFC 
Divisional  Round game  against the San Francisco 49ers, though head coach Ron 
Rivera  was  optimistic 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.Panthers running back Jonathan 
Stewart  and  defensive tackle  Colin Cole are  also questionable for Sunday's 
game,  though  Stewart  seems  likely  to return  from  a  knee  injury  after 
practicing  fully  this week.  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. 

                                      === 

San  Diego Chargers  running back  Ryan Mathews  sat out  a third  consecutive 
practice  on Friday,  placing the team's leading rusher's status up in the air 
for  this weekend's  AFC Divisional  Round  game against  the Denver  Broncos. 
Mathews exited the Chargers' 27-10 victory at Cincinnati in last Sunday's Wild 
Card  Round in  the second half after aggravating a previous ankle sprain. The 
team listed him as questionable on Friday's final injury report. The San Diego 
Union-Tribune,  citing a  club source, reported Friday that San Diego plans on 
having  Mathews,  who rushed for a  career-best 1,255 yards during the regular 
season,  available for  its clash with the top-seeded Broncos. 

                                      === 

New  Orleans Saints  running back Pierre Thomas is questionable for Saturday's 
NFC  game  against the  Seattle Seahawks. Thomas  missed last Saturday night's 
26-24  victory over  the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card Round, where the 
Saints  ran  for 185 yards.  Thomas, who was  limited in practice Thursday and 
Friday  after being  held out of Wednesday's session, played in all 16 regular 
season  games,  rushing for 549  yards and two touchdowns.  He was hurt in the 
Saints'  regular  season finale against  Tampa Bay. Saints defensive end Akiem 
Hicks is also questionable because of an ankle injury. Seattle head coach Pete 
Carroll  said Thursday  that wide  receiver Percy  Harvin will  play Saturday. 
Harvin,  who  was acquired from  the Minnesota  Vikings in an offseason trade, 
played  in  just one game  this season after missing  most of it following hip 
surgery. 

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