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November 22, 2013

Johnson ruled out for Dolphins' game

After officially ruling out defensive end Charles Johnson for Sunday's game at Miami, the first question Panthers coach Ron Rivera fielded Friday concerned Johnson's availability next week.

Johnson sustained a sprained MCL in his right knee Monday on a leg whip by Patriots tackle Marcus Cannon. Sprained knees have sidelined starting right guard Chris Scott and No. 2 tight end Ben Hartsock for multiple games.

So where does that leave Johnson, who's second in the NFC with 8.5 sacks?

"We're going to see. We'll find out as we go into next week where we are," Rivera said. "It's one of those things. You want to get him back as fast as you can. At the same time, you don't want to get him back when he's halfway back."

Greg Hardy, the other starting defensive end, returned to practice Friday after sitting Thursday with a sore knee. Hardy is listed as probable for the Dolphins' game.

The Panthers will go with a committee approach at Johnson's spot, with undrafted rookie Wes Horton, a stout run-stopper, expected to share reps with pass-rushers Frank Alexander and Mario Addison.

Meanwhile, Scott will miss his third game, with Hartsock and outside linebacker Chase Blackburn (foot) out a second consecutive week.

Rivera, while knocking twice on a tabletop, said the Panthers can afford to take a cautious approach with the injured players because "the way things are going, you want to be smart."

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on November 22, 2013 at 01:20 PM | Permalink


I'd keep Johnson out until Dec. 8th against the Saints. That is when you want him in the lineup. If the Panthers can't handle Miami and Tampa without him, then having him back won't matter. It's the two Saints games that will decide the division.

Posted by: John | Nov 22, 2013 2:11:58 PM

Don't make light of Tampa. They are better than their record indicates.

Posted by: JImcat | Nov 22, 2013 2:42:27 PM

I'm feeling a let down game this weekend in Miami. Just a gut feeling I have. Also, ESPN's top analyst in picking this season, Ron Jaworski likes the Dolphins. Need good coaching this weekend to make sure that the team stays focused.

Posted by: Alex Schmid | Nov 22, 2013 2:58:55 PM

I have to agree with Alex Schmid. After two really huge games you can sense a pending letdown. Makes me nervous.

Posted by: Wayne D | Nov 22, 2013 3:36:36 PM

CJ will be sorely missed and I am skeptical about the by committee approach to his absence. Time will tell the tale. Chris Scott is not that good of a player to have hanging around waiting on him to heal. He should be moved to IR and a healthy player would have to be signed. Hartsock and Blackburn can be effectively replaced but CJ is an entirely different matter. I hope the Panthers are not looking past the Dolphins and the Bucs. These are winnable games but they must play hard for 60 minutes to get the job done.

Posted by: Whitecomet77 | Nov 22, 2013 3:55:39 PM

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