CHARLOTTE – Head coach Ron Rivera is a creature of habit who would love for every Panthers game to kick off in the 1 p.m. Sunday window, but he knows that waiting to play on Monday Night Football can have its benefits on the injury front.
"Very much so," Rivera said. "Very beneficial for everyone."
Safety Mike Adams was listed as being in the concussion protocol on the first injury report of the extended week, joining tight end Chris Manhertz and offensive tackle John Theus. Clearing the protocol in one week can sometimes be difficult even for players who recover quickly, but all three were able to practice on a limited basis Thursday and also have the extra day before the Dolphins come to town.
"The three of those guys have all progressed, and they're at a point now where they just have to go through the final stages," Rivera said.
Of course there are no shortcuts with concussions. Adams didn't practice Wednesday (when there wasn't an injury report) with what was believed to be a stinger in the neck and shoulder area suffered in Sunday's victory over the Falcons, and Rivera couldn't shed much light into how that turned into a stint in the protocol that the Panthers have hopes will end before game time.
Rivera also seemed confident there's time for rookie wide receiver Curtis Samuel, who showed up Thursday with a sore ankle and was limited in practice.
"Yesterday he came down funny on it, and this morning when he came in he was sore," Rivera said. "We limited him just to make sure it was calmed down so he'll be ready to roll tomorrow."
The Dolphins, too, could benefit from the extra day. Star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who hasn't missed a game since 2011, missed practice Thursday with a knee injury suffered in Sunday night's loss to the Raiders.