Once again, Carolina has some cause for concern regarding its offensive line.
Left tackle Chris Clark (knee) did not practice on Thursday ahead of the Panthers’ Monday Night Football matchup against the New Orleans Saints.
Marshall Newhouse took snaps at the position in his place.
Head coach Ron Rivera said he thought the injury was “a little residual” from a play against Cleveland last week during which Clark was shaken up.
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“Today we wanted to give him a rest and see how he is,” said Rivera. “He had an extra day off, so we just wanted to see how he is today, and we’ll see how he responds to the work that he did out there on (the side) tomorrow morning.
“We’re expecting him to be ready to roll, but we just wanted to make sure.”
Matt Kalil, who is only in his second year of a five-year, $55.5 million contract, has not returned to practice after beginning the season on injured reserve with a knee injury. Kalil must be an active participant in practice for the team to re-activate him, but it seems unlikely he’ll play this year with just three games left.
“I couldn’t tell you that, other than what the doctors have to say,” said Rivera. “He does his rehab stuff with them inside, and we’ll see.”
Kicker Graham Gano (left knee) worked on the side with athletic trainers and did not participate in practice. He missed Sunday’s game with the injury, which was bad enough by last Friday to prompt the Panthers to sign reserve kicker Chandler Catanzaro.
Defensive back Rashaan Gaulden was not present at Thursday’s practice because of an illness. Rivera was asked if Gaulden’s absence had anything to do with a tweet Gaulden sent this week, in which Rivera said defensive backs’ work in practice on containing the explosive pass “wasn’t sticking.”
Gaulden’s now-deleted tweet quoted the statement from Rivera, with three “hand-wave” emojis that have been interpreted in a variety of ways by the fan base.
“I don’t know anything about a tweet, other than he was sick and went and saw the doctor,” said Rivera. “(The doctor) gave him some medicine and sent him home.”
Defensive end Julius Peppers and linebacker Thomas Davis took veteran rest days.
Defensive tackle Kawann Short was limited with a calf injury, while quarterback Cam Newton did not throw in Thursday’s practice as per his usual routine for the first full practice of the week.