Carolina Panthers: 2013 NFL injury wire

Stewart looks fast in PUP list comeback

September, 30, 2013
9/30/13
3:15
PM ET
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- More than a few people noticed when Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart ran at close to full speed down the sideline during Monday's practice.

Stewart
It was the first time the former first-round pick out of Oregon tested his ankles like that since undergoing offseason surgery.

"And that was exciting,'' coach Ron Rivera said.

Said Stewart, who has struggled in particular with rehabbing the right ankle, "As good as it's felt in a while.''

So could Stewart be ready to come off the physically unable to perform list in two weeks and be ready for the Oct. 20 home game against the St. Louis Rams? Neither Stewart nor Rivera wanted to get too far ahead of themselves, but Monday's workout was encouraging.

"I'm on the coaching side,'' Rivera said. "We get excited about things. [Head trainer] Ryan Vermillion and his people, they've got to be realistic about it.

"But it was really nice to see him go full ... I shouldn't say full speed, but really open up.''

A healthy Stewart would open up a Carolina offense that already ranks third in the NFL in rushing with DeAngelo Williams carrying the bulk of the load (291 yards).

A healthy Stewart could mean a return to the days when Williams and Stewart were nicknamed "Double Trouble.''

Rivera said there have been times already this season where Williams could have used a break on long drives. He also reminded that "everything is eyeing to the postseason,'' so the Panthers (1-2) don't necessarily have to rush Stewart back. A more realistic chance of seeing Stewart might be in Week 8 or 9.

On target to return this week against Arizona is another former Oregon running back, Kenjon Barner, who has been out since suffering an ankle injury in the preseason finale.

Barner definitely will be used to spell Williams and give Carolina a different look with his breakaway speed.

"He's a very diverse football player,'' Rivera said of this year's sixth-round pick. "He has the ability to run the football and catch it, and he's learned how to pass protect. A lot of [how he's used] has to do with play calling and the flow.''

Not good enough: Much of the attention before a 38-0 victory over the New York Giants was on how well Carolina practiced after an 0-2 start.

Monday's first workout after the bye weekend wasn't that good.

"Practice was good, but it wasn't good enough, and I let them know that at the end,'' Rivera said. "They did some really good things, but as we talked about, to win football games we've got to practice the whole way.''

That may be especially true coming into a game against a 2-2 Arizona team that had to rally to beat winless Tampa Bay on Sunday.

"We've just got to make sure everybody is on the same page, everybody is pushing, because we have a chance to build momentum coming off a win,'' Rivera said.

Injury updates: Starting left cornerback Josh Thomas (concussion) has been cleared to play this week after being held out against New York. Defensive tackle Dwan Edwards (thigh) and safety Quintin Mikell (ankle), who also missed the Giants game, were not in pads on Monday and did not practice in full. They will be evaluated again on Wednesday.

Panthers: Thomas out; Edwards in doubt

September, 20, 2013
9/20/13
5:35
PM ET
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers will be without starting cornerback Josh Thomas and possibly starting defensive tackle Dwan Edwards on Sunday against the New York Giants.

That's not good news for an 0-2 team that will face quarterback Eli Manning and the league's top passing game.

Team officials said on Friday that Thomas was not cleared by doctors after suffering a concussion in Sunday's 24-23 loss at Buffalo. Thomas practiced on Thursday and Friday and, according to coach Ron Rivera, passed all the necessary team tests.

But as Thomas wrote on Twitter:

Edwards missed his third straight day of practice on Friday with a thigh injury.

"Not looking good," said Rivera, adding a decision on Edwards' status will be made on Saturday.

If Edwards can't play, Colin Cole will start beside rookie Star Lotulelei.

Rivera left it open that either veteran Drayton Florence or Josh Norman would start on the left side for Thomas. Florence was signed on Wednesday night after being among the final cuts in the preseason.

Norman has been fighting through a deep thigh bruise and sprained knee.

Safety Quintin Mikell (ankle), corner D.J. Moore (foot) and running back Kenjon Barner (foot) already have been ruled out. Backup corner James Dockery (thumb/shoulder) will be a game-time decision.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers starting defensive tackle Dwan Edwards missed his third straight day of practice on Friday and is in doubt for Sunday's 1 p.m. game against the New York Giants.

Edwards
"Not looking good," coach Ron Rivera said on Friday.

Edwards has been battling a thigh injury. Rivera said a decision on his status will be made on Saturday. If Edwards can't play Colin Cole will start beside rookie Star Lotulelei.

The good news is starting left cornerback Josh Thomas practiced for the second straight day after suffering a concussion on Sunday against Buffalo.

Thomas still has to be cleared by doctors, but Rivera said the third-year player has passed all the required team tests and he is optimistic he'll be cleared by the league.

If not cleared, Rivera left it open that either veteran Drayton Florence or Josh Norman would start. Florence was signed on Wednesday night after being among the final cuts in the preseason.

Safety Quintin Mikell (ankle), corner D.J. Moore (foot) and running back Kenyon Barner (foot) already have been ruled out. Backup corner James Dockery (thumb/shoulder) will be a game-time decision.

Injury report: DT Edwards questionable

September, 19, 2013
9/19/13
4:30
PM ET
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera is concerned that starting defensive tackle Dwan Edwards won't be ready for Sunday's game against the New York Giants.

Edwards missed his second straight day of practice on Thursday with a thigh injury. It is the same injury that had Edwards limited the week before the opener, in which he played.

"Yes there is [a concern],'' Rivera said. "He's an older guy. Nagging thing. He was limited as far as running around. What you're hoping for is tomorrow he runs around and tells you it doesn't grab.''

The good news is cornerbacks Josh Thomas (concussion) and Josh Norman (deep thigh bruise) returned to practice on a limited basis. Thomas still hasn't been cleared by doctors to play, but he remains optimistic.

Rivera indicated that if Thomas isn't cleared, Drayton Florence will start at left cornerback. The veteran was among the final cuts in training camp after starting most of the preseason, but re-signed on Wednesday night.

Rivera said strong safety Quintin Mikell and backup running back Kenjon Barner are out for the Giants. He said rookie Robert Lester will start at strong safety with Mike Mitchell moving from strong to free safety to replace Charles Godfrey, who was put on injured reserve with a torn Achilles.

Carolina DBs take wounded dog approach

September, 18, 2013
9/18/13
4:45
PM ET
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers' secondary situation might not be as dire as advertised.

Starting left cornerback Josh Thomas told ESPN.com he expects to be cleared to play on Thursday. Thomas suffered a concussion in the second quarter of Sunday's 24-23 loss to the Buffalo Bills and has been undergoing the league's mandatory testing.

Mike Mitchell, who was the starting strong safety throughout most of the preseason until suffering a calf injury and losing the job to Quintin Mikell (ankle), will move to free safety to replace Charles Godfrey (Achilles, injured reserve).

Starting right cornerback Captain Munnerlyn is healthy.

So that leaves strong safety as the only spot where the Panthers will be inexperienced. Robert Lester, who was signed from the practice squad on Tuesday, will start as things stand now.

There's also a chance backup cornerback Josh Norman (thigh, knee) could be ready. And James Dockery is back after missing the first two games with a thumb injury.

In other words, the Panthers (0-2) believe they'll be ready on Sunday for the New York Giants (0-2) and quarterback Eli Manning, who is second in the NFL in total passing yards.

"If you're sleeping on our secondary, you'll get a rude awakening,'' Mitchell said defiantly on Wednesday.

Coach Ron Rivera wasn't that enthusiastic. He admitted the secondary is a concern, but it has been throughout the preseason when everybody was healthy.

What Rivera likes is the way players have stepped up, particularly Mitchell.

"He was solid,'' Rivera said of Mitchell's practice. "I'm excited about that.''

The injuries will impact the depth and ability to run nickel packages. But it shouldn't be as bad as it was on Sunday at Buffalo when the Panthers were so thin that they couldn't play nickel for a quarter, and at times had linebackers playing the slot receiver out of a base defense.

Rivera said the team will duplicate those reps in practice this week just in case. He also will rep a cornerback to play safety with the potential for only three healthy players if Mikell is sidelined.

For the most part, the Panthers are taking the wounded animal approach -- as in, you don't approach a wounded animal.

"I was a starter,'' Mitchell said. "I am a starter. I'm going to continue to be one. I love the guys in our secondary. I love the men we have. I want the guys that I have in my room.

"I cannot wait to get out and play this game. Right now we have that underdog, back-against-the-wall mentality. You've got to live for this, man.''

Edwards to play; Mitchell, Silatolu out

September, 8, 2013
9/08/13
11:55
AM ET
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The good news for the Carolina Panthers is starting defensive tackle Dwan Edwards is active.

Edwards was listed as questionable on Friday with a thigh injury, but was cleared to play. Look for Edwards and former Seahawks Colin Cole to rotate.

The bad news -- but not a surprise -- is starting strong safety Mike Mitchell and starting left guard Amini Silatolu are inactive.

Veteran Quintin Mikell, signed on Monday, will start at strong safety and Chris Scott is expected to make his first NFL start at guard. But look for veteran Travelle Wharton and Scott to play that position by committee.

Carolina's inactives are: RB Kenyon Barner, LCB James Dockery, C Brian Folkerts, OG Amini Silatolu, SS Mike Mitchell, WR Domenik Hixon, DE Wes Horton.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers could start a defensive tackle who has been out of the NFL since 2010, a safety who was signed on Monday and an offensive lineman who never has started -- all in Sunday's opener against the Seattle Seahawks.

Let's break it down:

• Starting defensive tackle Dwan Edwards (thigh) missed Friday's practice with a thigh injury. He is listed as questionable. If he can't go, the Panthers will turn to Colin Cole, an eight-year veteran who has been out of the league the past two seasons.

Cole last played for the Seahawks in 2010 before injuring an ankle toward the end of the season. He was the first player signed by new general manager Dave Gettleman.

"He had a great camp and really dedicated himself to getting back," Carolina coach Ron Rivera said on Friday. "We have that confidence he can be that guy again.''

• Strong safety Mike Mitchell (calf) is "definitely doubtful," according to Rivera. If he can't go, Carolina will start Quintin Mikell, who joined the team on Monday after being released by the Rams earlier this year for salary cap reasons.

Rivera is upbeat because Mikell is a veteran who has played in a similar scheme before.

"But also because of the guys that are around him," Rivera said. "One of the things I really like is how [free safety] Charles Godfrey has really stepped it up. The corners have gravitated towards him. And then all the linebackers [have stepped up].

"It's one of those classic things when somebody comes in to replace somebody the other 10 guys pick it up. That has been outstanding.''

• Starting left guard Amini Silatolu (hamstring) also remained sidelined and is listed as questionable. Journeyman Chris Scott and Travelle Wharton will share the load even if Silatolu can play some. Scott has begun each of the last two practices with the first unit.

Out for Sunday are reserve backup running back Kenjon Barner (foot) and backup cornerback James Dockery (thumb). Domenik Hixon (hamstring), in the mix for the third receiver spot, is questionable.

Starting fullback Mike Tolbert (hamstring) and weakside linebacker linebacker Jon Beason (knee), as well as backup tight end Ben Hartsock (foot), are good to go.

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