CHARLOTTE – Center Ryan Kalil was not at practice Monday after suffering a sprained left knee during Saturday's game against the Miami Dolphins.
Head coach Ron Rivera said the Pro Bowl center will likely not play again in the preseason. The Panthers hope to have him ready for the regular season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"He's very valuable to us obviously, so we are going to approach this cautiously," Rivera said. "We'll be smart. The whole idea being what we want to do once we get to Jacksonville."
While Kalil nurses his knee, backup center Brian Folkerts and right tackle Mike Remmers will step in. Folkerts and Remmers, who has played some center during practice previously, each got work there during Monday's practice as Carolina began preparations for Friday's preseason game against the New England Patriots.
"That's my role on the team and that's what I've got to do," Folkerts said. "It's been amazing learning behind Ryan – one of the smartest centers in the league. I feel confident and ready."
Remmers is confident that Kalil, whom he called the unit's "fearless leader," will be ready to go for Week 1. But he's more than willing to take on the challenge of taking some snaps at center in the meantime.
"It's nice touching the football," Remmers said. "Usually, as an offensive lineman, it's pretty bad if I'm handling a football. It's kind of cool to play football and handle the football. It's a different beast, but it's been fun."