Inside the Panthers

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera questions value of NFL injury reports

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera leans over to head linesman Mark Hittner (28) to call a time out late in the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers won 27-16.
Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera leans over to head linesman Mark Hittner (28) to call a time out late in the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers won 27-16. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

After being pressed by reporters about the nature of center Ryan Kalil’s ankle injury Saturday, Panthers coach Ron Rivera went on two-minute riff about how the NFL’s injury reporting system puts injured players at risk and puts teams at disadvantages.

After FOX’s Jay Glazer reported Sunday that Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has been dealing with fractured ribs since Week 3, Rivera’s comments made a lot more sense.

Rivera and the Panthers’ staff had heard the rumblings about Luck’s rib injury prior to Glazer’s report, according to team sources. The Panthers and Colts play Monday night in Charlotte.

The Colts have not listed Luck’s fractured ribs on an injury report, although the team has been in communication with the league about the injury, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport.

Teams that fail to properly disclose injuries are subject to fines.

When Panthers quarterback Cam Newton cracked his ribs in a preseason game last year, the Panthers included it on their injury report when Newton missed the opener at Tampa Bay.

“I really don’t understand why the league has us do it. It’s something that really does bother me. To me there is no good reason for this. I struggle with that, I really do because I think it puts people at disadvantages. It puts players at disadvantages,” Rivera said Saturday.

“That’s what I worry about: Being put at a disadvantage. I worry about my players being exposed to situations, circumstances on the football field — the more people know. Why?”

Someone mentioned that every team is subject to the injury reporting rules.

“But 31 other teams, I promise you 31 other head coaches probably feel the same way I do,” Rivera said. “And again, why? That’s my biggest question, I just don’t understand.”

How have league officials responded to Rivera’s questions?

“I’ve never asked the league,” Rivera said. “I just do what I’m told.”

Rivera isn’t the first coach to question the value of the injury report.

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said injury reports had “no credence” and didn’t mean anything after the Ravens were fined $20,000 by the NFL for not listing former safety Ed Reed on an injury report in 2012.

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson

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