Carolina Panthers

Panthers receiver Curtis Samuel unlikely to play vs. Cowboys; OL rehab continues

After Carolina Panthers receiver Curtis Samuel missed practice Wednesday for the second day in a row and third time this week, coach Ron Rivera said he doesn’t expect Samuel to suit up Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys.

“I would say it’s safe to rule him out,” Rivera said. “I’m not going to play around with this one.”

Samuel was listed on the team’s first injury report of the season with a “medical issue,” but Rivera would not elaborate further. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that Samuel had a minor procedure done to correct an irregular heartbeat.

This isn’t the first setback Samuel has faced since Carolina selected him in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The former Ohio State star suffered a season-ending ankle injury in last season’s Week 10 win over the Dolphins, and he spent much of this offseason rehabbing that ankle.

“It’s unfortunate, and I know he’ll just continue to do what he’s told, and he’ll be back,” Rivera said. “We’ll just see what happens. Obviously he’s in the doctor’s care right now.”

Considering the injury-filled offseason the team had, the team’s initial injury report was far less extensive than it may have once seemed. Other than Samuel, the only player who did not practice Wednesday was rookie guard Brendan Mahon, who was out with a neck injury.

No. 3 tight end Chris Manhertz, who is working his way back from a foot fracture, was listed as a limited participant in practice. Joining him were Daryl Williams (knee) and Amini Silatolu (knee), who both are progressing well in their rehabs.

Still, Rivera reiterated Wednesday that just because Williams and Silatolu were practicing again didn’t necessarily mean they would play against the Cowboys on Sunday.

“We’ll continue to work them and see how they are the next day,” Rivera said of Williams and Silatolu. “We’re told what we can do with them, we go out and we do it, and then you see how they react to it.

“We’ll see how they are tomorrow and we’ll just continue to go forward and eventually make our decision.”