Stephon Gilmore, Shi Smith placed on reserve/COVID-19

Stephon Gilmore

CHARLOTTE — Veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore wasn't likely to play this week anyway, and now the question of his availability appears to have been taken care of.

The Panthers put Gilmore and rookie wide receiver Shi Smith on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday.

Gilmore was dealing with a groin injury anyway, and wasn't expected to be ready for Sunday's finale against the Buccaneers. The veteran cornerback will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Smith was held out of practice Wednesday with what was described as an illness. The sixth-round pick from South Carolina made a few plays this year in spot duty, buried on the depth chart behind more experienced options. But he caught a 63-yard pass against the Buccaneers, which showed his deep speed.

He has six catches for 104 yards this season, and they're hoping to expand his role in the future. Head coach Matt Rhule mentioned the possibility of training him as a punt returner this offseason, to add to his chances of getting on the field.

With Smith unavailable, fellow rookie Terrace Marshall Jr. going on injured reserve, and veteran Robbie Anderson held out of practice with a quad injury, the Panthers are thin at receiver.

Aside from starter DJ Moore, the Panthers are down to Brandon Zylstra and Alex Erickson, along with practice squad receivers Keith Kirkwood, Willie Snead, and C.J. Saunders.

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