Stewart leaves with calf injury in first quarter, not deemed serious by team
What could have been a serious problem for the Carolina Panthers turned out to be nothing serious when running back Jonathan Stewart left the game with a calf injury in the first quarter Friday night at Bank of America Stadium.
The injury appeared to happen when Stewart caught a short pass from quarterback Cam Newton for a one-yard gain.
Stewart went to the locker room and appeared to limp slightly as he left the Panthers sideline. He had five rushes for eight yards and one touchdown in addition to his one-yard reception.
He got kicked in the calf and we just wanted to be cautious, head coach Ron Rivera said.
Two starting offensive linemen center Ryan Kalil and right tackle Byron Bell also left the game after each had one of their feet stepped on during the game. Both players were X-rayed and showed no serious problems.
Back-up linebacker and special teams player Kenny Onatolu suffered a hamstring injury in the game.
FOR STARTERS: The Panthers defense opened in a nickel package, meaning rookie cornerback Josh Norman started opposite veteran corner Chris Gamble. Captain Munnerlyn played the nickel, but returned to his usual corner spot when the Panthers went to their base 4-3.
Free safety Haruki Nakamura started ahead of Sherrod Martin for the second consecutive game. But the Panthers maintained their rotation at safety among Nakamura, Martin and strong safety Charles Godfrey.
Offensively, the Panthers opened in a two-back, two-receiver set, with fullback Mike Tolbert and running back DeAngelo Williams getting the start.
FAMILIAR FACES: Two former Panthers quarterback Matt Moore and wide receiver Legedu Naanee are now on the Dolphins roster.
Moore started 12 games for Miami last season and had 16 touchdowns, nine interceptions and an 87.1 quarterback rating. However, the Dolphins are giving rookie Ryan Tannehill every opportunity to win the job after picking him eighth in the draft.
Naanee, who joined the Panthers last season after a training camp injury to David Gettis, is the most experienced receiver on the Dolphins roster, which currently has three rookies and a second-year player.
SITTING OUT: The Panthers did not dress David Gettis, cornerback Brandon Hogan, running back Tauren Poole, cornerback Nate Ness, linebacker Jon Beason, linebacker Thomas Davis, guard Roger Allen, tight end Nelson Rosario and defensive end Eric Norwood.
• It wasnt a great night for defensive end Greg Hardy, who was called for a pair of offsides penalties in the first half.
• Nice to see Louis Murphy have a big impact. If Steve Smith is the No. 1 receiver and Brandon LaFell is No. 2, someone has to be the third receiver. Maybe its Murphy.
• The Panthers did a very good job of deflecting passes at the line, getting their hands on four of them in the first half.
• With two road exhibitions and a regular-season opener at Tampa on the schedule, it will be a month before the Panthers play in Bank of America Stadium again. Only President Obama will have a home game at the stadium before the New Orleans Saints visit on Sept. 16.
• With the Panthers lead down to 23-17 with more than three minutes remaining, it probably wasnt the best decision by Michael Avila to return a kickoff from eight yards deep in the end zone. The good news is he went 16 yards with the return. The bad news is he only made it to the eight-yard line.