While Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey impressed during the preseason, another highly-drafted playmaker spent most of the past month on the sideline.
But after a good week of practice, wide receiver and second-round pick Curtis Samuel is slated to play on offense and special teams Sunday at San Francisco, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Friday.
“We feel pretty confident. His workload is what we believe it should be,” Rivera said. “So we’re pretty excited about having him ready to roll.”
Samuel, the former Ohio State standout, missed nearly all of training camp with a hamstring issue, then rolled his ankle last week in the exhibition finale against Pittsburgh.
But Samuel participated fully in each of the team’s practices this week and is ready to go.
The news was not as good for second-year defensive tackle Vernon Butler. Last year’s first-round pick is doubtful against the 49ers because of a knee injury.
Butler returned to practice on a limited basis this week after spraining his knee against Houston on Aug. 9. But Rivera said the 6-4, 330-pound Butler’s size makes him a little slower to heal, as was the case last year when Butler missed five games with a high ankle sprain.
Rookie defensive end Daeshon Hall (knee) and defensive tackle Kyle Love (ankle) are both able to play.
The only players listed as out for the Panthers are undrafted cornerback Cole Luke (ankle) and reserve linebacker Jared Norris (groin).