SPARTANBURG David Gettis has been a familiar sight at the Panthers training camp practices, stretching, running, consulting with trainers always on the sideline.
But Ron Rivera said trainers are optimistic the third-year wideout could be back on the field by the end of the week.
It wont be in time for Gettis to play in Saturdays exhibition against Houston. But it would at least be a step forward for a player who has been out since tearing his ACL last summer.
The biggest thing about David is just continuing to work and see how those things go. Its one of those things that are still bothering him. And the hard part is its on the leg thats bothering him, on the knee that was repaired so you really have to be careful, Rivera said Monday.
Gettis, on the active/physically unable to perform list, is expected to compete with Louis Murphy, Seyi Ajirotutu and others for the No. 3 wideout spot when he gets back. Ajirotutu was the No. 3 receiver Monday night.
Rivera said he is confident in the group competing for the spot behind Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell.
Tutu is a veteran guy. Louis Murphy is a guy Ive seen play several years when he was with the Raiders. Hes done some really nice things for us, so theres some positives, Rivera said. Its not like were in a hurry. Were not being held hostage waiting for a guy to come around.
Sending condolences: Rivera, who spent five seasons on Andy Reids staff in Philadelphia, was shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Garrett Reid. The oldest son of the Eagles coach, who was assisting with the strength and conditioning program, was found in a dorm room at Lehigh University.
Reids family released a statement Monday saying Garrett Reid, 29, lost the battle that has been ongoing for the last eight years an apparent reference to his struggles with drugs.
It was sad; it really was. Any time a father loses a son, its tough. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Andy and Tammy and the rest of the family, Rivera said.
Ziemba Update: Offensive tackle Lee Ziemba, who visited with Dr. James Andrews on Monday, is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery next week to determine the extent of his knee injury. Ziemba was injured last week.
Practice was moved indoors Monday night after rain began falling as the players got to the field. Inside Benjamin Johnson Arena, most of the Panthers wore basketball shoes on the hard court while doing walk-throughs for a second time. More than 100 fans, including military personnel and members of the Wofford basketball team, stood along walkways above the bleachers to watch. With rain in Tuesdays forecast, the Panthers moved the start time from 6 p.m. to 10:30 a.m.
• Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott played scout team quarterback in defensive drills Monday. Inside the basketball gym, McDermott lined up under center and handed an imaginary ball off to a running back while carrying the play card in his other hand.
• Low ceilings and hardwood floors kept the kickers at bay, as well. Olindo Mare and Justin Medlock, who have been locked in one of the closest starting position competitions on the team, posted up against the bleachers for most of practice and chatted.
• Defensive tackle Andre Neblett, suspended the first four games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, worked with the first team alongside Ron Edwards. Rivera and McDermott might have been sending a message to the young tackles, at least one of whom will have to step up during Nebletts absence.
Besides Edwards, who missed a couple of days with a hyper-extended knee, cornerback Josh Norman (hamstring) and receiver Lamont Bryant (hamstring) have been cleared to practice, Rivera said.
THREE QUESTIONS WITH...
Cornerback Nate Ness
Q: Where were you, and what were you doing when the Panthers called last week?
I spent some time with my fiancee. I was in Arizona training and enjoying some family time with my son and my mom, and just working out. Youve got to stay ready because you never know when that call comes.
Q: You came in and made a splash (with three interceptions in two days). What did you think when someone yelled Fresh legs during practice last week?
People say its a splash. Im just out here competing and just trying to fight for a job. And thats what it comes down to is competition. I may have fresh legs or whatever, but at the end of the day Im still competing because Im hungry. I love this game. I play it with passion. Ive been playing this game since I was 9 years old.
Q: Youve bounced around quite a bit (three teams in three previous seasons). Have you had opportunities to play in Canada or any other leagues?
That thought did come inside of my mind. But honestly, I really wanted to play in this league. Ive played against a lot of the guys in here, whether it was in college, high school. Ive played against or played with. So I felt strongly in my heart that the NFL was for me.
GETTING TO KNOW
C Jeff Byers
Height: 6-4 Weight: 310
College: Southern California
NFL experience: Byers is a first-year veteran with the team after spending 13 games last season on the practice squad before getting signed to the active roster. He dressed, but did not play, in one game and was inactive in the other two. He also spent 14 games on the Denver Broncos practice team in 2010.
The scoop: Three-time Pro Bowler Ryan Kalil holds down the center position, but Byers looked aggressive during the first week of camp. Byers likely is battling Mike Pollak, who plays guard and center, for a backup spot.
Bet you didnt know: Just as Byers does now, he was Kalils backup at Southern California during the mid-2000s. Also, because he went to USC for six years, he was able to get a masters in business administration while with the Trojans.