SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos gathered at Levi’s Stadium for team pictures on Saturday after proclaiming themselves fit and raring to go for Super Bowl 50.
Carolina had a key question mark heading into the final week’s preparation for Sunday’s National Football League title game in Pro Bowl linebacker Thomas Davis, who broke his right arm in their conference championship two weeks ago against Arizona.
Head coach Ron Rivera said he expected Davis, who had a dozen pins inserted in his forearm after having surgery the day after the NFC clash, to start after practicing fully this week.
“He actually took a shot on the arm yesterday and said ‘Hey, I’m fine. That felt pretty good,’” Rivera said.
Three Panthers players on the injury report – Davis, defensive end Jared Allen (foot) and running back Mike Tolbert (knee) – were all full participants in Friday’s practice and all officially listed as probable for the Super Bowl.
Denver had three players limited in practice on Wednesday, but all 53 practiced fully on Friday for the second straight day, including safeties T.J. Ward (ankle) and Darian Stewart (knee), and guard Louis Vasquez (knee). All will start Sunday.
“It’s been a good week,’’ said Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak told a pool reporter in Stanford on Friday. “It’s been a good two weeks, really. You see they’re ready.”
Carolina coach Rivera said his team’s energy level picked up with each day of practice, typical for the 17-1 team.
“That’s the one thing we’ve seen,” Rivera told a pool reporter in San Jose. “We’ve seen that build-up.”
Quarterbacks on both teams have been sharp.
During the full-team drills pitting Cam Newton and the offense against the scout team, the football hit the ground just once.
Over three days of practices, Newton had just two incompletions – the other being a deflected pass over the middle – during team drills.
Denver veteran Peyton Manning, 39, has also been impressive.
Only one of Manning’s throws against the Denver scout team defense was incomplete on Friday, continuing the strong form he has shown since arriving in the Bay Area.
“This is as good as he’s looked all year long,” Kubiak said after Thursday’s practice when Manning drilled a deep ball to Emmanuel Sanders and later hit Demaryius Thomas on a long pass.
Editing by Steve Keating.