SPARTANBURG, S.C. – It's the last thing anyone wants to see, but it's a risk involved every time players take the field.
On Saturday, wide receiver Stephen Hill stretched out to reel in a pass over the middle from quarterback Cam Newton and landed awkwardly on his right leg. He immediately fell to the ground in immense pain.
"I saw Hill go up in the air, and I think he came down on his knee," said assistant head coach Steve Wilks, who oversaw practice with head coach Ron Rivera away for his brother's funeral. "We'll just wait and see, but I don't want to speculate right now."
The team stood in stunned silence for a few moments as trainers attended to Hill before carting him off the field. It's difficult to move past the sight of a fallen teammate, but Wilks was pleased with the way the group responded.
"The focus was great, and we always talk about focus," Wilks said. "Don't let it get in the way. 'It' can be anything. The guys came back and responded well."
Wilks also felt the team put forth a solid practice despite Rivera's absence.
"The biggest thing is trying to take care of business as usual," Wilks said. "We have a great group of guys. Great leadership within that locker room – guys that understand our philosophy and the culture that we've created. It was great today."
Wilks will run practice again tomorrow as the Panthers don pads for the first time. The session begins at 9:25 a.m.
Update from head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion: "Stephen Hill is scheduled to get an MRI tomorrow to evaluate his right leg injury and we will have an update on Sunday afternoon."