Charles Johnson plans to play
"I feel like 100 percent I'll be on the field,'' Johnson said Monday as the Panthers (4-3) began preparing for their NFC South rival. "I feel good. I'll play on Sunday.''[+] EnlargeAP Photo/Mike McCarnThe Panthers' Charles Johnson, who has six sacks on the season, says he'll play Sunday despite an injured groin.
Johnson, who has led Carolina in sacks the past three seasons, is again the Panthers' sack leader this season with six. He strained his groin in the final minutes of Thursday night's 31-13 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
At the time, Johnson wasn't aware how serious it was. He canceled plans to travel during the rare off Sunday to return to Bank of America Stadium for treatment so he would be ready for Atlanta (2-5).
Johnson has been an integral part of a Carolina defense ranked third in the NFL.
"I'm looking forward to playing Atlanta,'' said Johnson, a native of Hawkinsville, Ga., and a former University of Georgia standout. "I can have plenty of weeks off in the offseason.''
Johnson said it's doubtful he'll practice Wednesday, not wanting to risk aggravating the injury that he called a mild strain. But it's not doubtful he'll be ready for an Atlanta team that he had a single-game-best 3½ sacks against last season at the Georgia Dome.
"I love playing Atlanta,'' Johnson said. "It's a division game, a big game. You always get up for anybody, but Atlanta, it's just a little extra sauce on it.''
Meanwhile, the Panthers continue to evaluate running back Jonathan Stewart, who missed the first seven games rehabbing his right ankle after undergoing offseason surgery.
Coach Ron Rivera remains hopeful the team's second all-time leading rusher will be ready to come off the physically unable to perform list to face the Falcons.
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Manziel inks endorsement contract with Nike
- Report: Sharper admitted sex not consensual
- Peterson lobbies for Vikings to sign QB Vick
- Bears say thanks, tell Hester he won't return
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
THE NFL ON ESPN.COM
Despite Jadeveon Clowney's insane numbers, doubts remain about what can't be measured.
- Nike Youth Home Game Jersey Carolina Panthers Luke Kuechly #59
- NFL Home
- AFC East
- Buffalo Bills
- Miami Dolphins
- NE Patriots
- New York Jets
- AFC West
- Denver Broncos
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Oakland Raiders
- San Diego Chargers
- AFC North
- Baltimore Ravens
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Cleveland Browns
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- AFC South
- Houston Texans
- Indianapolis Colts
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Tennessee Titans
- NFL Nation
- Free-Agent Tracker