There’s never a good time to get injured in the NFL.
But there has to be a bit of a helpless feeling for players on the roster bubble who get hurt heading into final cuts and might not get another chance to prove their worth during an exhibition game.
The Carolina Panthers have several players in that predicament this week, from veterans such as wide receiver Brenton Bersin, center Gino Gradkowski and defensive tackle Kyle Love to newcomers sucbh as safety and Charlotte native L.J. McCray and undrafted wideout Fred Ross.
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Gradkowski and Love have not been at either of the team’s practices this week, while Bersin and McCray were among the injured players who rode stationary bikes and did some running and conditioning on the side on Monday. Bersin has been out since injuring his shoulder at Tennessee on Aug. 19.
“They worked them pretty hard today to see how they’re going to react to it,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “We’ll see how they are in the morning.”
One player who appeared to have a setback was offensive lineman Chris Scott, who has missed most of the past two weeks while in the concussion protocol. After taking part in Sunday’s practice, Scott was carted back to the stadium by head athletics trainer Ryan Vermillion early in Monday’s practice.
Scott, who can play guard and center, joined the Panthers in 2013 and has been a valuable spot starter and reserve lineman because of his versatility. But his roster spot was far from guaranteed before his head injury.
Rivera said coaches and the front office will evaluate a player’s entire body of work when making decisions this week. Teams must cut rosters from 90 players to 53 by Saturday.
“We’re going to judge guys on everything that they’ve done. Some of these guys unfortunately have had limited opportunities,” Rivera said. “But when we make decisions we’re going to judge guys based on those (big picture) things.”