The Carolina Panthers had a notable absence from Wednesday’s practice ahead of a crucial home matchup against the Seattle Seahawks (5-5) on Sunday.
Receiver Devin Funchess was not out at practice because of a back injury.
“This was something that popped up from the game, so we’ll just see how he is,” coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday.
Funchess has received treatment for the injury over the last pwo days. Rivera indicated on Wednesday that he is day-to-day.
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Funchess, the team’s “X” or “No. 1” receiver, had a rough homecoming in a loss to Detroit last week. He dropped five passes, at least three of which were catchable.
If Funchess can’t play Sunday, Carolina doesn’t have a true “X” receiver to take his place. But rookie receiver DJ Moore could spend more time on the outside in the “X” instead of rotating through multiple receiver positions, as he has done thus far.
A rotational role is working for Moore. He finished Sunday’s game with a career-best 157 yards and a touchdown on seven catches.
If Moore takes more snaps on the outside, it might mean that second-year receiver Curtis Samuel could see more snaps. He played 16 offensive snaps out of a possible 58 on Sunday, with 55 yards on five catches and a touchdown.
Receiver Torrey Smith could potentially be back for the Panthers this Sunday, as he participated in practice, on a limited basis, for the first time since injuring his knee in Week 7.
“Torrey had a good day, he worked well,” Rivera said. “They picked out a few opportunities for him to be out on the field with the guys. He warmed up, did some things. Took some reps. It worked out pretty well for him and he seemed to handle it pretty well.”
The Panthers also had Da’Norris Searcy back on the practice fields, although he only worked on the side with trainers on Wednesday.
Searcy was the Panthers’ starting safety opposite veteran Mike Adams before suffering two concussions
Searcy was signed by Carolina to a two-year deal this spring. But when he went on injured reserve, the Panthers signed safety Eric Reid to start opposite Adams. In seven starts with the Panthers, Reid has recorded 41 tackles, defensed two passes and has an interception and a sack.
Searcy is eligible to be activated this week after spending eight games on injured reserve. But Carolina will likely take extra precaution because of the nature of his injury, and they have a solid insurance plan in Reid.
“(Searcy) has done really well, he’s done exactly what he’s supposed to,” Rivera said. “And now is a good opportunity for him to start working. … We’re in a good spot right now. We’ve got some healthy guys. Guys are doing good things. So there’s really no need to push anybody.”
Center Ryan Kalil, defensive end Julius Peppers and Adams all took veteran rest days on Wednesday.
Defensive end Mario Addison (shoulder), cornerback James Bradberry (shoulder), tight end Greg Olsen (rest/foot), and linebacker Shaq Thompson (shoulder) did not practice on Wednesday.
Quarterback Cam Newton had his “new normal” Wednesday as a limited participant, and did not throw during the media portion of practice.