The Carolina Panthers’ centers were front and center in the team’s “position catastrophe” last season when injuries besieged the offensive line.
But starting center Ryan Kalil (shoulder) and backup Gino Gradkowski (knee) are both progressing well after surgeries ended their seasons early in 2016, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Thursday at the combine.
Gradkowski, who started three games in place of Kalil, is further along in his recovery.
Rivera said Kalil could miss all or part of OTAs this spring, but is on schedule to be back for his 11th season.
“He’s still in the rehab program. He’s been doing great. He’s there every day,” Rivera said. “And when he’s gone back home, they’ve set him up with a guy to work with. He’s done a great job. And just having him around with the guys I think has been a great motivator.”
The Panthers still have third-string center Tyler Larsen on their roster, too. Larsen started the final five games after Kalil and Gradkowski went on injured reserve on the same day in late November.