Fox confident Smith will quickly return to Panthers

Panthers WR Steve Smith spoke about his shoulder injury Tuesday and expressed relief that it wasn’t more serious.

Smith, who sported a sling over his right arm, appeared confident that he will be ready for the Sept. 13 season opener against the Eagles. But his coach, John Fox was much more confident, telling reporters he believes Smith will be ready at some point during the preseason.

“Whether we play him or not, I don’t know that yet,” Fox said.

Fox then was asked if he’s confident that Smith will be ready for the regular season.

“He’s day-to-day,” Fox replied. “He’s not week-to-week or out for the season or anything like that.”

Smith’s injury will have a trickle-down effect during the preseason, with the Panthers’ younger receivers — Dwayne Jarrett, Kenny Moore, Jason Carter and Ryne Robinson – getting an opportunity, as Andrew Mason┬ánotes on Panthers.com.┬áVeteran Muhsin Muhammad said he will move to Smith’s “X” position, with Jarrett now working with the first unit at the “Z” position.

“We’ve got to develop some young guys there,” Fox said Tuesday. “We’ve got two proven guys in Steve Smith and Moose (Muhsin Muhammad). We’ve got young guys — Dwayne Jarrett, Kenny (Moore), Ryne Robinson, the whole list — and we’re going to find out in those preseason games who sticks themselves out there.”

On his camp visit to Carolina on Monday, NFL.com analyst Pat Kirwan noted that QB Jake Delhomme believes Jarrett had made a lot of progress and likes Moore’s work in the slot.

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