Smith hopes to be ready for Panthers opener

Panthers WR Steve Smith hopes to be healthy enough to start the team’s regular-season opener against Philadelphia on Sept. 13. Smith injured his shoulder in a fall on Monday after colliding with CB Chris Gamble.

Smith met with reporters on Tuesday wearing a sling, and declined to say if he would undergo an MRI exam for the injury. Initial X-rays were negative.

Smith suffered a shoulder injury during the 2007 preseason but still started 15 games, finishing with 87 receptions for 1,002 yards and seven touchdowns. Smith has seen a decrease in his touchdown production every season since scoring a career-high 12 touchdowns in 2005.

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