Panthers' Stewart expects to be full speed for camp

Jonathan Stewart was surprised, to say the least, when he was able to make it though last season with an Achilles tendon injury. Now, he’ll be surprised if he’s not ready for training camp in late July when the Carolina Panthers get rolling.

Stewart underwent surgery in January to correct a problem that dogged him all last season, a bone spur that was pressing into his Achilles tendon near the heel. Despite the nagging and painful injury, he produced a 1,133-yard season. Now, the 5-10, 235-pounder expects to be healthier and better this season.

“I literally thought I was going to be playing six games and then have to get surgery. That was some of the talk (between) me and the trainers," Stewart told Charles Chandler of the Charlotte Observer.

The injury was such that the Panthers held him out of the entire preseason. Then, during the season he missed practice at least one day a week. It’s why the team claimed rookie Tyrell Sutton off waivers from the Green Bay Packers at the start of the season.

Now, Stewart hopes to begin running in two months and then be full go in time for camp. Stewart is only two years removed from being held out following toe surgery.

"I wish I was able to be out there," said Stewart. "That's the reason (for the) surgery, so I can get back to my regular routines. When I was in college, (with) my work ethic ... the offseason was where I got better.

"That's where I was able to develop speed and strength. Missing out on that is something I definitely don't like. But with the surgeries and the injuries, I had to play it smart and just kind of wait until it was time to go."

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