The injury bug has officially hit the Carolina Panthers and one position particularly hard. According to The Observer’s Mike Kaye, eleven players were missing from Panthers practice Wednesday as the team prepares for their final preseason game against the Detroit Lions Friday. The group included Donte Jackson, Stanley Thomas-Oliver, Greg Mabin, Mac McCain III, Sam Franklin, Cam Erving, Deonte Brown, Taylor Stallworth and Amare’ Barno. Also on the list were wide receivers Laviska Shenault and DJ Chark – a position that has been hit hard within the last two weeks.
Shenault (concussion protocol) and Chark (hamstring) join Terrace Marshall Jr (back) and Damiere Bryd (hamstring) as wide receivers sidelined with injury – all of whom were expected to be key weapons for rookie quarterback Bryce Young.
Fans reacted with panic to Wednesday’s addition of DJ Chark to the injury report – as the six-year veteran who had an impressive training camp, has struggled with staying healthy in the past.
But while Panthers fans were jumping straight to the worst case scenario, head coach Frank Reich didn’t seem worried about anyone missing significant time due to injury and very confident in where the Panthers are right now.
“Not anticipating any big moves at this point, but we’ll continue to evaluate that day-by-day,” Frank Reich said.
“I’ve been involved in enough games that you have a ding here, a ding there,” Reich added when asked if he is concerned about depth at wide receiver. “I don’t overreact to something. First, I’ve got to find out what’s the severity of it. If a guy gets something, you know, where are we at on that? I just don’t overreact to those things. It’s a next man up mentality, whether we’re talking for a preseason game or a regular season game.”
The reality is, right now everything is speculative. The Panthers aren’t giving much information about the severity of any player injury, but Reich seemed willing to give more details (before being stopped) – which is a good thing. Carolina, like any team, will be more cautious than not during the preseason. I understand the panic Panthers fans are showing right now, the road for them hasn’t been an easy one, but it’s way too early to consider the season a total loss. Week one is more than two weeks away and there’s still plenty of time for players to get healthy and the team to make moves – if need be.