Carolina Panthers center Ryan Kalil will miss his second consecutive game Sunday, but head coach Ron Rivera does not believe Kalil’s neck injury will keep him sidelined for an extended stretch.
“My understanding is he’s going to be back,” Rivera said Friday.
Kalil and reserve linebacker Jeremy Cash (calf) are the only Panthers players listed as out for the home game against the Saints (Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX).
Quarterback Cam Newton, who was limited in practice all week with a sore shoulder, is listed as questionable. Rivera said that designation is a technicality because Newton was on the injury report all week.
Tyler Larsen will start in place of Kalil, who was a late scratch last week against Buffalo after his neck flared up overnight and again in warmups. Kalil, 32, has had previous issues with stingers, although Rivera has not revealed the specifics of Kalil’s current injury.
Kalil was not on the practice field all week, as trainers had him stay inside the stadium for treatment and rehabilitation.
“Going outside for two-and-a-half hours, there’s really nothing productive you can do out there, yet,” Rivera said. “He’s working with the strength and conditioning guys in here. He’s working with the trainers as soon as he finishes that. He takes a little break and goes right back to whatever they’ve got him (doing) in terms of his rehab.”
Larsen, who started the final five games last season after injuries to Kalil and Gino Gradkowski, spent all week working with the first team. Rivera said Larsen’s practice reps should be beneficial.
“That’s always a good thing. But more so than anything else, he develops the comfort level with the quarterback,” Rivera said. “The guards hearing the line calls, that’s (also) important.”
Rivera said Greg Van Roten, who made the Panthers’ opening 53-man roster after two seasons in Canada, will be active Sunday and back up Larsen.