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December 09, 2011

Jordan Gross questionable with ankle injury

The Panthers began this week missing the entire left side of their line.

Guard Travelle Wharton returned Thursday after his lower back loosened up. By Sunday, the Panthers hope to have tackle Jordan Gross back in his usual spot, as well.

Gross is questionable for Sunday's game against Atlanta with a sprained ankle he sustained in the win at Tampa Bay. Gross, whose 132 starts are the most by an offensive lineman in team history, did not practice all week.

“He worked out a little bit on the side and looked good,” coach Ron Rivera said Friday. “It's encouraging. The big thing, obviously, is just having the strength in that ankle.”

Wharton said he took reps at left tackle this week, although Rivera said there are a couple of combinations the Panthers would consider if Gross can't play.

Rivera is not concerned about the missed practice time with Gross, a two-time Pro Bowler in his ninth season.

“He's a very veteran guy. He's one of those guys that it would probably be good for him to miss a couple days, anyway, to get a little rest for the body,” Rivera said. “We've got a couple of guys like that.”

Three veterans were given a day off this week – receiver Steve Smith, tight end Jeremy Shockey and cornerback Chris Gamble – but all will play against the Falcons.

Linebackers Jason Phillips and Kion Wilson, both of whom have calf injuries, are the only players who have been ruled out.

Rookie Kealoha Pilares, the second-ranked kick returner in the league, is probable after missing the Tampa Bay game with a pulled quad. Rivera hopes to have Pilares return kicks against the Falcons, although he said he has to figure out the inactive list, based on who's available.

Wilson, for example, has been on all the special teams since being signed off the practice squad last month.

“I'd love to be able to” use Pilares, Rivera said. “But as you go through these things … your hands are kind of tied when you can only play 46 out of your 53 (players).”

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on December 9, 2011 at 01:46 PM | Permalink


Jordan Gross is so over-rated it is not even funny. Wasn't he the lineman who botched blocking the CB on what would have been a TD on Cam's reception? Jordan weighs 100 lbs more but danced with the defender who eventually made the tackle. Go look at the tape...you'll see what I am talking about.

Posted by: tom | Dec 11, 2011 8:40:49 AM

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