Panther standout defensive end Charles Johnson said Monday he believes he is "definitely" going to play Sunday despite a right groin strain.
Johnson (shown above, sacking St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford) told reporters Monday that he had had treatment on the injury "all weekend," which he suffered with 1:08 left against Tampa Bay In Carolina's Thursday night win.
"I feel like 100 percent I'm going to be on the field," Johnson said. Of course, 100 percent to a player doesn't automatically mean 100 percent to doctors or trainers, but coach Ron Rivera said he was optimistic Johnson would play.
The Panthers did not have a real practice Monday, but Johnson participated in the walk-through. He said of his weekend: "I wasn't hobbling, but it was sore."
Johnson, who grew up in Georgia and went to the University of Georgia, has always said the Panthers' two games every year against the Falcons are special to him.
"You always get up for anybody," Johnson said. "But Atlanta? There's just a little extra sauce on it."
Johnson's best individual game came against the Falcons in 2012, when he sacked Matt Ryan a team-record 3.5 times in a game the Panthers ended up losing on a last-second field goal. Johnson leads the Panthers in sacks this year with six.