• Steve Smith says 89 percent chance he will play


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Carolina Panthers were back on the field Friday for practice, under some wet conditions.

    Wide receiver Steve Smith predicted  himself to be at 61 percent Friday after downgrading himself to 57 percent Thursday.

    He said there is an 89 percent chance he will play on Sunday vs. the 49ers.

    Smith told reporters that he randomly makes up his percentages on his health.  On Friday, it was done rock, paper, scissors.

    It's pretty much a guarantee Steve Smith will play Sunday.

    On Thursday, Smith said his injured left knee isn't coming along quite as well as he'd hoped.

    After practice Thursday he said, "It didn't feel as great as I thought it'd feel." He said he "overdid it a little" in practice.

    Smith estimated he's "57 percent" healthy, down from 71 percent he mentioned on Wednesday.

    Panthers 10-1 odds to win Super Bowl
    As for whether he'll play Sunday against the 49ers in the NFC divisional playoffs, Smith said, "I'll have to see," on Friday.

    Coach Ron Rivera expressed some concern, saying Smith didn't look as sharp Thursday in practice as he normally does.

    "When you watch Steve and watch the way he does things, there's smoothness to his movements and stuff -- and it's not quite there yet," Rivera said.

    Smith said the primary issue is his cutting ability while running routes.

    "I'll be all right," he said. "I'm going to need some treatment."

    The 2.5-point spread has slowly diminished to 1-point, but he health of Smith weighs heavy on the game predictions.

    Charlotte police beef up security for NFL game

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police will be increasing security for the Carolina Panthers' playoff game with the San Francisco 49ers this weekend.

    Police say they are increasing the number of officers in the downtown area starting Friday and running through the weekend. The game is set for 1 p.m. Sunday.

    About 75,000 fans will be in Bank of America Stadium. Capt. Mike Campagna says thousands more are likely to watch the game in uptown bars and restaurants.

    Police are warning people to be aware of those who might sell counterfeit tickets. They also are warning people about those who might direct cars to park in improper areas.

    Police also are warning people not to leave valuables in sight in their vehicles.

    Panthers Pride Kickoff Party live Friday

    Channel 9 will bring you everything Panthers playoffs in prime time Friday night.

    Join Eyewitness News anchors Erica Bryant and Blair Miller at 8 p.m. for the Panthers’ Pride Kickoff Party live from the EpiCentre. We will have player interviews, important information for fans about traffic, parking and tickets.

    Plus ESPN.com David Newton will be answering fans’ questions live on Twitter. The show airs live from 8 - 9 p.m.

    For more details on the live show, click here.

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    Steve Smith says 89 percent chance he will play