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Panthers have some injury questions in a short week

Brian Burns

CINCINNATI — The Panthers were battered by the Bengals, and they came home Sunday night bruised and with less time than normal to get ready for the next one.

Defensive end Brian Burns was in and out of the game getting checked by the athletic training staff, defensive tackle Derrick Brown wasn't able to finish the game because of an illness, and starting cornerback Donte Jackson was active but didn't play a snap.

It was that kind of day for the Panthers, who now have to get ready to play the Falcons Thursday night without knowing who might be available.

Interim coach Steve Wilks said the preparation would start Sunday night, with players going straight to the Bank of America Stadium from the airport to get a head start on treatment and rehab.

"That's exactly what we said — short week, quick turnaround," Wilks said. "We're going to do a great job getting in there tonight, getting back into the building, and starting to get a jump on our rehab. We'll push the meetings back tomorrow and come in ready to work."

Physical readiness is always a factor for Thursday games, and the Panthers could have some significant issues looming.

Burns left the game in the first half with what was termed a neck issue, and the medical staff continued to look at his right arm and shoulder at points throughout the game. He had a sack, but was much less active than normal, and had just two tackles for the game, and the Bengals ran for 241 yards.

After the game, Burns didn't elaborate on the injury, saying: "I'm fine." When asked what happened, he said: "Nicks and bruises, nothing too crazy, really." When asked if he felt he was 100 percent during the game, he said: "I was fine."

Brown wasn't able to finish the game after Wilks said he was experiencing some symptoms before the game started.

"Derrick got sick before the game, came in from the hotel, didn't feel good," Wilks said. "He pushed through it, and then at halftime, it just felt like he couldn't go any more."

Jackson worked out before the game and was active, but Wilks said the plan was to only have him play in case of emergency. Jackson aggravated a lingering ankle injury last week in Atlanta. CJ Henderson started for him Sunday.

"Yeah, if needed, yeah," Jackson replied when asked if he could have played. "But just following the plan they've got for me. Got some good movement before the game, but it just didn't feel right. It wasn't giving; it didn't turn over this week like I thought it would.

"Coach wanted me to dress out just in case if anything drastic happened; it wasn't the plan for me to play."

Jackson mentioned that he was "just getting ready for Thursday," and his status will be worth monitoring during the rest of the short week.

— The Panthers had been able to rely on the run game the last two weeks, with D'Onta Foreman going for 118 yards each of the last two weeks. Sunday, he was held to 23 yards on seven carries, as their lack of success converting third downs kept the offense from sustaining any kind of rhythm. They managed just 64 rushing yards as a team after running for 173 against the Buccaneers and 169 against the Falcons.

"We were just kind of slow; you know what I mean?" Foreman said. "We've got to find a way to get started. I've got to watch the film and see exactly what it was. I just know that we didn't play to our standard today, and we've got to get it fixed for Thursday."

And while short weeks have their own challenges, Foreman said he was actually looking forward to a chance to change the narrative.

"I definitely think being able to play on Thursday gets this taste out of our mouth and put it behind us," Foreman said. "I definitely think it's a good thing for us. Guys in this locker room come to work each and every day and play hard and practice hard. We put it all on the line, and unfortunately we didn't get it done today."

View best in-game photos from Carolina's Week 9 game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

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