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RB Davis expects to be back with Panthers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 28, 2005) -- Stephen Davis expects to make a full recovery from microfracture surgery and play for the Carolina Panthers again this season.

The team's starting running back missed most of last season with nagging right knee problems, then had the surgery in November.

"Stephen is doing great, he is jacked up about this year," agent David Canter said. "He feels like that that knee thing was probably something that was here for a while, maybe even when he was in Washington, and he thinks it is all cleared up now."

Davis spent eight years with the Redskins, then signed with the Panthers before the 2003 season. He then had the best year of his career, rushing for a career-best 1,444 yards while helping Carolina win the NFC championship and earning his third Pro Bowl invitation.

But Davis played just two games last season. He played in the season opener, then had surgery to repair torn cartilage in his knee. He tried to return for one game after that, then had the more serious operation to end his year.

Canter said the Panthers will probably hold Davis out until training camp in August to allow him to heal. The Panthers also have DeShaun Foster, who missed most of last season with a broken collarbone, and they drafted Eric Shelton in the second round last weekend.

Picking Shelton, a big, bruising, north-south runner who is very much like Davis, was viewed as insurance in case the 31-year-old Davis can't play again.

But Canter said Davis will be back.

"He is excited and when you talk to Stephen now as opposed to last season, there is no frustration in his voice," Canter said. "He's got a clear goal in mind and one of them is to prove the nonbelievers wrong who said this is it, he's done."

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