RB missed 2 games following knee surgery

Updated: October 7, 2004, 9:20 PM ET
Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers running back Stephen Davis said Thursday only a natural disaster would keep him from playing this weekend against the Denver Broncos.

When first questioned about his availability for Sunday's game, Davis grinned and said, "I won't know until Sunday." But when pushed on the topic and asked what would keep him from playing, Davis replied, "A hurricane. Maybe a tornado or something."

Even so, it's ultimately up to coach John Fox to decide whether to risk playing Davis this week or wait until next Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Fox anticipates it will be a game-time decision.

Davis, who rushed for a career-high 1,444 yards last year for the Panthers, missed the last two games following knee surgery to repair torn cartilage. He practiced again Thursday but remains questionable on the team's injury report.

Davis said he hasn't experienced any swelling in his knee this week. He was originally scheduled to miss two to five weeks, so he's right on schedule in his rehab. Friday marks three weeks since he had surgery.

"My whole thing was to get (the surgery) done as soon as possible and get it better and get back in there," Davis said. "Right now I'm doing everything I need to do to get myself back on the field."

DeShaun Foster has started the last two games for the Panthers, running for 225 yards and two touchdowns on 51 carries. However, Foster has been slow to hit some holes, resulting in 17 runs of no gain or negative yardage during the past two weeks.

Fullback Brad Hoover said that's a result of Foster's running style, which is far different from Davis' style.

"Stephen is going to hit the hole and fall forward for one or two more yards," Hoover said. "DeShaun is a little more scattier and he'll try to bounce it. He's hit some big runs, believe me, and some of those runs have been from bouncing. But eventually you are going to get burnt doing something like that."

Davis started Carolina's opener against Green Bay and carried nine times for 26 yards. The following week during practice his knee began to swell and he had surgery two days before a game against Kansas City.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press