Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was limited in practice on Thursday after injuring his back.
“He made a heck of a catch today and landed on it,” said head coach Ron Rivera. “So we’re just going to be careful with it.”
Rivera added that Benjamin had battled a few injuries of late (including a minor shoulder issue), after spending the entirety of last season rehabbing an ACL tear.
“It’s one of those things that we all tend to forget, that he’s not even 16 months removed since he had knee surgery,” said Rivera. “He’s got to get used to it again. It’s unfortunate because he had such a great rookie year, then was hurt going into his second season, now in his third he’s had to work himself back into playing shape, get used to playing, get used to the full year.
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“You could almost say it was like ‘hitting the rookie wall’ all over again for him.”
Rivera said the season has been frustrating for Benjamin, who has drawn headlines recently for throwing his helmet when angry about missing snaps against Oakland, and whose effort was called into question after Carolina’s game against San Diego last week.
“He gets frustrated. Because he remembers how well his rookie year went,” said Rivera. “Just got to understand, having the knee repaired like he did ... there aren’t a lot of Adrian Petersons out there who that can do it in nine months or 10 months or whatever Adrian did it in. It’s just one of those things. It’s just going to take time.”
Offensive lineman Daryl Williams (ankle) and defensive end Charles Johnson (hamstring) were present but stayed on the sideline and did rehab work with trainers. Running back Jonathan Stewart took a second consecutive rest day as well.
Kicker Graham Gano, who broke a bone in his left foot, participated fully in practice. Linebackers Luke Kuechly and David Mayo also participated fully in practice, although both remain in the concussion protocol. Practicing is a step in the protocol.