After playing five full quarters Sunday at Cincinnati, Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera decided to give his players a bit of a break Thursday. Rivera condensed the schedule and started practice an hour earlier, immediately after the team’s morning walk-through.
“The idea was to get them in, go straight through, get them off their feet as quick as possible and give them a chance to rest, rehydrate and get ready to roll this weekend,” Rivera said.
Depending on how the Panthers respond Sunday in a game at Green Bay, Rivera said he might consider sticking with the schedule in the future.
Running back Jonathan Stewart showed no residual effects after his full-padded practice Wednesday. Rivera said Stewart, who has missed the past three games with a sprained knee, looked good and is expected to start against the Packers.
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The rest of the running back rotation remains banged-up. DeAngelo Williams (high ankle sprain) remains out for a couple of more weeks, and reserves Fozzy Whittaker (quad) and Darrin Reaves (calf) both sat out Thursday.
Rivera said the backups behind Stewart on Sunday would be Chris Ogbonnaya and whichever back between Whittaker and Reaves is the healthiest.
Cornerback Josh Norman practiced on a limited basis for the second consecutive day after missing last week’s game at Cincinnati due to post-concussion symptoms.
Outside linebacker Chase Blackburn (knee), cornerback Bene’ Benwikere (ankle) and guard Amini Silatolu (calf) all are sidelined and not expected to play against the Packers.