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Bone bruise sidelines WR Benjamin

Posted Jul 28, 2014

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – An MRI performed Monday on rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin's knee revealed a bone bruise but no structural damage, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera confirmed.

"We got a bit of good news," Rivera said when delivering the report to the media. "It was a bone bruise more than anything else. It's stable. Everything is fine. Nothing is structurally wrong."

Rivera said there isn't truly a timetable for Benjamin's return to the practice field but believes it should be a matter of days rather than weeks.

"It's just a matter of getting the bone to calm down, get the swelling out, then getting him out on the practice field in a matter of time," Rivera said. "It could be a few days, but it's not really fair to give it a timeframe at this point."

Benjamin headed to the Richardson Building on Monday morning with the intention of getting ready for practice, but the athletic training staff instead sent the first-round draft choice back to Charlotte for an MRI one day after he banged knees with a defensive back in practice.

Rivera called it a "precautionary MRI" following Monday's practice, noting that Benjamin he was able to fight through the discomfort and finish Sunday's practice after sustaining the blow early on.

"There were a few plays he went down, but I believe it was earlier in the practice based on what I understand," Rivera said. "He said he was OK and went out and finished practice. We'll see what it is."

Benjamin, in the mix for a significant role as a rookie, has impressed early in camp. But it's still early in his development, so anything that keeps him off the practice field for even one day is a disappointment.

In the grand scheme of things, however, the MRI results were a relief.

"He's had a great camp," Rivera said. "He came in in tip-top shape and ready to roll. He was the one of the guys that spent time with Cam (Newton) working out (prior to training camp). It's one of those things where we just want to make sure and we want to be smart about.

"Young guys need as many reps as they can get. There's the old saying that if you can get 5,000 reps, you'll be ready to play. We want him to get as many as he can."

Safety Thomas Decoud left Monday's practice as a precaution with what Rivera termed an old injury to his lower leg. Running back DeAngelo Williams, center Ryan Kalil, safety Roman Harper and defensive tackle Dwan Edwards got a veteran's day off.

Even with a handful of vets watching from the sideline, there was nothing leisurely about the session. Shortly after cornerbacks Antoine Cason and Carrington Byndom intercepted passes, the offense amped things up with a no-huddle package. The next team period, the offense maintained the same look – and the team period after that and the one after that.

"We decided that with the way we were rolling, we extended the no-huddle period today to three more sets," Rivera said. "I was very pleased. If you're going to practice with that kind of tempo and you've got a good rhythm, then you go with it.

"The first three practices, I am pleased. I like what we're doing. I like the tempo."

The Panthers will return to the practice fields at Wofford College on Tuesday at 9:25 a.m.