CHARLOTTE — The Panthers will be without three key players on defense when the Broncos come to town Sunday.
Linebacker Cory Littleton (ankle), safety/nickel Myles Hartsfield (ankle), and defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis (calf) were all held out of practice for the third straight day and have been ruled out for the Denver game.
Tight end Giovanni Ricci (neck) was also held out for the third straight practice, and he is doubtful for Sunday. Quarterback PJ Walker (ankle) was limited Friday and is also doubtful. Interim coach Steve Wilks said earlier in the week he wanted to give Walker more time and the upcoming bye to recover, so Walker isn't expected to play against the Broncos.
Tight end Stephen Sullivan was added to a group of five players who have been dealing with illness throughout the week. He and fellow tight end Ian Thomas were both held out from Friday's practice and are listed as questionable for Sunday. That leaves Tommy Tremble as the only tight end on the active roster who isn't on the report in some fashion.
The other three players battling illness, wide receiver Shi Smith and offensive linemen Cameron Erving and Larnel Coleman, returned to full practice Friday and received no injury status ahead of the Denver game.
Safety Juston Burris (concussion) participated in full for the second day and received no status. Burris has missed the last three games while in concussion protocol.