SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Vernon Butler's reaction caused immediate concern, but the defensive tackle's knee injury isn't as bad as it initially appeared.
Head coach Ron Rivera said following Friday's practice that the team is hopeful Butler can return in time to face the 49ers in the regular season opener, which is 30 days away. Agreeing with a reporter's assessment that the team got "decent" news regarding the defensive tackle's sprained left knee, Rivera said:
"Yes, as far as we're concerned. He'll just rehab it, and the target date is the opening game."
Butler went down with about five minutes left in the first quarter of Wednesday's preseason opener against the Texans when he was blindsided by a crack-back block from offensive tackle Breno Giacomini. Butler pounded his fist in the turf as medical attention arrived.
Rivera said he sent a replay to the league for review.
"I sent it in and just wanted clarification on it," Rivera said when asked about the legality of Giacomini's block. "We'll go from there."
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