With just a week until the Carolina Panthers open their regular season at home against the Dallas Cowboys, there was good news and bad news regarding the offensive line.
Starting left tackle Matt Kalil was placed on injured reserve by the team, meaning he will miss at least the first eight games before being eligible to return.
Kalil, who was not at Carolina’s practice on Sunday, had an arthroscopic scope on his right knee on Aug. 21, and had not practiced since.
The move involving Kalil, who signed a five-year, $55.5 million contract before last season, opened a roster spot for the Panthers. The team used it to sign defensive back Lorenzo Doss, who had been released Saturday as the roster was reduced to 53 players.
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But there was some progress on Sunday. Right tackle Daryl Williams and guard/tackle Amini Silatolu both returned to practice.
Williams, who is in a contract year, has made a lot of progress in his rehabilitation of a torn MCL and dislocated patella. The team escaped putting him on injured reserve to begin the season.
Williams remains week to week. It’s unlikely he gets the start against Dallas on Sunday with the team likely wanting to be cautious.
Silatolu has been day to day while rehabilitating a torn meniscus. He adds depth along the line, but it’s unlikely the Panthers would play him as a starter at left guard, where he was competing in training camp, in place of a healthy Greg Van Roten.
Carolina will evaluate its options on the offensive line this week. The staff might not want to put Silatolu or Williams on the field so quickly after knee injuries, despite what has appeared to be a quick recovery for both.
“We’ve got a full week to go before we see where everybody is,” Rivera said. “The last couple of days, we’ve taken advantage of a light workout. We modified their reps, modified the periods that we did. It’s good to see guys moving around, and we’ll see how guys feel tomorrow.
“We’ve come to no conclusions (and) made no decisions on anything. And we’ll give you guys an injury report on Wednesday.”
The Panthers had to put reserve tackle Jeremiah Sirles on injured reserve (he is not eligible to return), and traded a conditional 2020 seventh-round pick for Detroit tackle Corey Robinson.
Rivera said general manager Marty Hurney had been evaluating Robinson closely for the past few weeks.
With Kalil out, second-year guard/tackle Taylor Moton will likely start at left tackle. And Robinson could very well be featured on the right, should the team choose to be cautious with Williams.