SPARTANBURG, S.C. – After Tuesday's practice, head coach Ron Rivera spoke about the Panthers' injury concerns as they prepare for their preseason game against the Buffalo Bills on Friday at Bank of America Stadium.
As far as quarterback Cam Newton is concerned, his playing status will be determined after Thursday morning's practice.
"We don't know the plan yet for Cam on Friday," Rivera said. "It's all based on what (head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion) and the doctors think and how (Cam's ankle) feels once we get past Thursday morning."
Rivera added that if Newton plays, he's action will be limited to the usual one or two series that starters in the first preseason game typically receive.
"I imagine it will involve a lot of handing the ball off," he said.
One of the men competing to protect Newton's blindside, offensive tackle Nate Chandler, missed practice due to knee soreness.
"He was off yesterday, and we got him off again today to have him back on the practice field tomorrow," Rivera said.
Garry Williams stepped in at right tackle in place of Chandler and had a solid day.
"Garry did very nicely," Rivera said. "That's all part of that competition that those three guys are having right now. We'll play three guys (at tackle) if we have to."
Safety Roman Harper missed practice again as the athletic training staff attempts to protect him from aggravating a toe injury.
"We don't want it to turn into turf toe," Rivera said. "We're being cautious with that."
Veterans can afford to miss practice time in some cases, but for the younger players fighting for roster spots, each practice rep, or missed rep, is magnified.
After several strong practices, second-year wide receiver Tavarres King has missed the last two with a hamstring injury. In the process, other wide receivers have had a chance to shine.
"It's tough to deal with injuries. They are an unfortunate part of the game," Rivera said. "The sooner you can get back on the field the better, because the other guys are taking advantage of opportunities. Tiquan Underwood has had some really good days, Philly Brown has had good days, as has Kealoha Pilares. We are not going to forget what Tavarres is doing, but at the same time, you can only go based on what you see."