CHARLOTTE, N. Edgar Martinez Jersey .C. -- Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith has been ruled out for Sundays game against the Atlanta Falcons. Panthers coach Ron Rivera made the announcement following Fridays practice, adding that running back Jonathan Stewart (knee) and defensive tackle Colin Cole (calf) will not play either. Smith sprained his left knee during Carolinas 17-13 win over New Orleans last Sunday. The win assured the Panthers a playoff spot, but this weeks game looms even larger. Carolina (11-4) can wrap up the NFC South division title and a first-round bye by beating the Falcons. "Steve has actually improved a lot," Rivera said. "In Steves way he basically said if I had to I would play this weekend. He probably couldnt, but he would try." Rivera, however, said the team doesnt want to risk losing Smith for the playoffs. "Not a chance," Rivera said. "Its about going forward. This game is very important and we know it. But there are other things ahead, too." Rivera said if the Panthers dont win the NFC South and secure a first-round bye, he expects Smith would be ready to play next Sunday in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Smith leads the team with 67 receptions for 774 yards and five touchdowns. Ted Ginn Jr. is expected to start at wide receiver for Smith, but Domenik Hixon will see increased action. Falcons coach Mike Smith acknowledged earlier in the week his team will probably alter how it defends the Panthers if Smith doesnt play. "Steve Smith is one of the most competitive, not just wide receivers, football players that Ive been fortunate enough or, weve been fortunate enough, to compete against," Smith said. "He brings a lot of energy. He brings a lot of passion to the way he plays the game. You do defend a little bit differently when Steve Smith is in the game based on where hes aligned and what the down and distance is, because to me hes one of the marquis wide receivers still in the NFL." Rivera said hes interested to see what Brandon LaFell will do as Carolinas primary wide receiver. LaFell is third on the team in receptions with 49 for 627 yards and five touchdowns. "Brandon has done nothing but take strides and get better as a football player," Rivera said. "And it will also be good to see as far as Ted Ginn is concerned and Domenik Hixon. These three guys have done some really good things for us. It will help us gauge where were at." The Panthers are also expected to lean heavily on tight end Greg Olsen, who has 64 receptions for 747 yards and four touchdowns. NOTES: Safety Robert Lester was added to the injury report Friday as questionable after getting his ankle stepped on at practice. Nelson Cruz Jersey . The 19-year-old from Westmount, Que., was edged 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-3 by third-seeded Alize Cornet of France. Cornet broke Bouchard twice in the last set and saved six break points in the three-hour match. Randy Johnson Jersey . The mood in Seattle was electrified as the parade featuring the NFL champions began near the Space Needle and made its way to CenturyLink Field, the home of the team. At a ceremony inside the stadium, the team thanked its loyal followers -- the 12th Man -- capping a day of boisterous celebration that drew an estimated 700,000 revelers to Seattle. http://www.baseballmarinersofficial.com/hisashi-iwakuma-jersey-c-7/ . Reyes, 26, was traded from Atlanta to Toronto in July 2010 and spent the remainder of the season in the minors. He began 2011 in the majors and made 20 starts with the Blue Jays, going 5-8 with a 5.40 earned run average before he was waived on Aug. OKLAHOMA CITY -- Serge Ibaka pointed to the sky, soaking in the cheers from the adoring home crowd moments before coming out of a game that just a few days earlier, he never imagined he could play. He scored 15 points in a dramatic return from what was thought to be a season-ending left calf strain, helping the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the San Antonio Spurs 106-97 on Sunday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals. Ibaka started after missing the first two games of the series. The Thunder originally said he would miss the rest of the playoffs, but changed course Friday. His presence helped the Thunder dominate and cut the Spurs lead in the series to 2-1. Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks took Ibaka out with 3:17 remaining and the Thunder ahead by 20. "When you talk about a teammate, thats everything you want in a teammate," Thunder forward Kevin Durant said. "I gained so much more respect for Serge for sacrificing himself for the team. Regardless of what happened tonight, thats something you want beside you." Ibaka made six of seven shots and was a threat that gave Durant and Russell Westbrook relief. Westbrook had 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and Durant added 25 points and 10 rebounds. On defence, Ibaka was a strong physical presence who blocked and altered shots and used his still formidable mobility to close out on shooters. He had seven rebounds, four blocks and a seemingly endless amount of energy. "Serge has put so much work in throughout the season that missing a couple of days didnt hurt him," Westbrook said. "Tonight, he jumped right back into where he was." Manu Ginobili scored 23 points and Tim Duncan added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Spurs. Game 4 is Tuesday night at Oklahoma City. The Thunder outrebounded the Spurs 52-36 after losing the battle of the boards in the first two games. San Antonio, which shot at least 50 per cent in the first two games, shot just 40 per cent on Sunday night. The first two games looked like a layup drill for the Spurs. This time, they were forced to reset numerous times. The passes were not as quick or as easy. "I was very disappointed that we didnt come out with more of a foot in the neck sort of attitude," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "t;They killed us on the boards, they beat us in 50-50 balls and thats very disappointing to me. Drew Smyly Jersey. ." San Antonio won Game 2 112-77, leaving the Thunder humiliated. "I knew that we were a better team than losing by 30," Brooks said. "Its not us. It was us that night, but were a much better team than that. I have a lot of respect for San Antonio, but theyre not that much better than us." Things were different from the start with Ibakas return. Brooks also inserted speedy Reggie Jackson into the starting lineup in Thabo Sefoloshas place. Jackson finished with 15 points. "We bounced back tonight. We always talk about that bounce-back ability and we had that tonight," Brooks said. The crowd roared when Ibakas name was announced during pregame introductions, and it got even louder when he started playing. He had eight points, three rebounds and two blocks in just over six minutes of play in the first quarter. Twice in the final minute of the first half, Ginobili hit 3-pointers, and both times, Westbrook answered with a 3-pointer. The last one, with 0.6 seconds left, gave the Thunder a 57-53 lead. Oklahoma City shot 56 per cent in the first half but turned the ball over 12 times. Ginobili had 20 points and made 5 of 7 3-pointers before the break to keep the Spurs close. Oklahoma City extended its lead to 83-76 at the end of the third quarter. A runner by Durant, then a 3-pointer by Caron Butler pushed the Thunder lead to 90-76 with just over 10 minutes to play. "Hopefully we realize that if were not intense, not very sharp and dont hustle like crazy, were not going to win here," Ginobili said. "They showed us reality. Hopefully we react in game four and play a much better game." Notes: Thunder C Kendrick Perkins picked up his third foul eight minutes into the game. He played just 13 minutes and finished with four points and three rebounds. Backup centre Steven Adams, a rookie, had seven points and nine rebounds. ... Thunder G Derek Fisher took a hit and was bleeding from the top of his head in the first quarter. He got six stitches. ... The Thunder shot 63 per cent from the field in the first quarter but trailed 29-28 at the end of the period. ... Ginobili scored just three points in the second half. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '