Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera wasn’t necessarily relying on any medical evidence Wednesday when he said he expects veteran linebacker Thomas Davis to play in Super Bowl 50 with a broken arm.
Rivera was basing his optimism on Davis’ recovery from three ACL surgeries to become a first-time Pro Bowl selection this season, his 11th in the league. Rivera also tried out a pun when discussing Davis’ status that you could tell he’d been saving.
“Again, I’m not doubting Thomas,” Rivera said. “There’s something about his conviction and the way he looks at things.”
Davis underwent surgery Monday to have a plate inserted in his right arm after he broke it in the first half of the NFC Championship Game win against Arizona.
Davis attended the stretching and installation portions of Wednesday’s practice before leaving on a cart with head athletics trainer Ryan Vermillion. Davis was not available to reporters Wednesday.
Rivera said Davis likely wouldn’t practice until next week after the team arrives in California.
“We’ll see how he is each day, how he’s progressing,” Rivera said. “I can’t imagine in the next day or two, probably not. But probably once we get to Santa Clara.”
Five other players were held out of practice with injuries that are not considered serious: defensive end Charles Johnson (knee), center Ryan Kalil (knee) and running backs Jonathan Stewart (ankle), Mike Tolbert (knee) and Fozzy Whittaker (ankle).
Strong safety Roman Harper, who sustained an eye injury against the Cardinals, returned to practice and said he’s improved.
Rivera said Davis’ determination to play sends a strong message to the team’s younger players.
“When a guy like Thomas says he’s going to do what he can to be ready to play and he’s going to play, that just shows the guys the right type of mental attitude you need,” Rivera said. “I think that’s important.”