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Carolina Panthers

Frank Reich shares comments on injured players before Miami

Miles Sanders

CHARLOTTE – Frank Reich had a long list of injured players to update on before the Panthers travel to Miami for Week 6.

The Panthers ruled out five players for the trip to Miami, and three of their four Week 1 starting defensive backs will be sidelined against the Dolphins' top-rated offense and passing offense.

Starting safety and defensive signal-caller Vonn Bell is out with a quadriceps injury Reich said he sustained in Thursday's practice, and his counterpart in the defensive backfield, Xavier Woods, will be out again as he rehabs a hamstring injury from Week 3 at Seattle.

"I'm excited for the guys who are going to get to play," Reich said. "Obviously, it's a big challenge. Nobody's looking to feel sorry for us. So that's what you get paid to do – and get down there, play it out. These are these are great opportunities. This is a great opportunity to make a statement about who we are as a team. It's a great opportunity for the guys stepping in. And I'm looking forward to it."

Reich said they'll go with Sam Franklin Jr., who has filled in for Woods since his injury, and practice squad defensive back Matthias Farley as starting safeties against the Dolphins. Rookie Jammie Robinson could also see some playing time, Reich said.

"Obviously losing a player like Vonn Bell is a big deal," Reich said. "His leadership, his playmaking ability. (I'm) confident in our depth. Sam Franklin will continue to be back there, and Matthias Farley will start at the other position. And then Jammie Robinson be a depth player there as well. So those guys have been getting lots of reps, ready to go."

Cornerback Jaycee Horn remains on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, though Donte Jackson returned to full practice this week after working through a shoulder injury.

Jackson is the only starter in the secondary that received no injury designation and is expected to play against the Dolphins.

Vonn Bell

Running back Miles Sanders (shoulder) didn't practice this week and won't play at Miami, leaving the door open for Chuba Hubbard and Laviska Shenault Jr. to see more carries against the Dolphins.

Reich said Sanders is "working hard to get back" and that he didn't expect Sanders' injury to be long-term. He also said the team will elevate Raheem Blackshear for more depth at the position.

"Chuba will more than likely get the bulk of the carries," Reich said. "It'll be hot down there, so we'll have to rotate through it. Obviously, I hope we get it going and we're moving the ball and can run 60, 70 plays in the game. So those guys will all get some work."

Outside linebacker Brian Burns (ankle) and defensive tackle Derrick Brown (knee/ankle), key leadership pieces in the Panthers' defensive front, are both questionable for Miami after returning to practice Friday.

Reich didn't have additional comments to share after Brown was limited and Burns was a full participant in Friday's practice.

"They're questionable," Reich said. "We'll see."

Tight end Ian Thomas was made questionable after being added to Friday's injury report with a calf injury.

Starting left guard Chandler Zavala didn't practice this week and won't play after sustaining a neck injury last week against the Lions. Tight end Giovanni Ricci, who plays a large role in Carolina's special teams units, won't play with a shoulder injury.

View photos from the Panthers' practice on Thursday.

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