CHARLOTTE – Cornerback James Bradberry made promising progress toward returning to the lineup by increasing his practice reps Friday, but head coach Ron Rivera isn't yet sure if Bradberry will be active when the Panthers host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
Bradberry and fellow corners Robert McClain and Daryl Worley are all listed as questionable, but McClain and Worley appear ready to return. Rivera is cautiously optimistic that Bradberry, the regular starter on the outside along with McClain, will be back after a two-game absence.
"We really won't know until tomorrow, though," Rivera said. "He looked good today. He increased his reps, and we'll see how he is tomorrow morning. If he continues to feel stronger every day, that's a huge plus for us."
Bradberry has missed the last two games with turf toe, while McClain missed the last game two weeks ago with a hamstring injury and Worley left the last game to be evaluated for a concussion.
McClain sat out Friday's practice because of some soreness, but Rivera said the team was just being smart "with our corner situation."
Earlier Friday, the Panthers placed cornerback Teddy Williams – who filled in for Worley in New Orleans – on injured reserve with a knee injury. They added cornerback Leonard Johnson (Achilles) off the non-football injury list, and Rivera said Johnson should be ready to serve as Carolina's first option at nickel corner.
"For all intents and purposes, he's ready to roll," Rivera said. "We do a lot of things similar to what he did at Tampa Bay, so it's really just a matter of assimilating himself to the other guys and the other guys getting used to have him out there."
The Panthers will be without offensive tackle Michael Oher (concussion) and defensive tackle Vernon Butler (ankle) for the fourth consecutive game. Defensive tackle Paul Soliai (foot) appears set to return from a one-game absence after fully participating in practice all week. Soliai and defensive end Kony Ealy (illness) are both expected to play even though they're officially listed as questionable.
"Kony's got a bug, so they sent him home with some medicine," Rivera said. "He should be fine."
View photos of the Panthers' week of practice leading up to their game against Arizona.