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July 25, 2014

A healthy Silatolu will help solidify Panthers' interior line

The knee-jerk reactions on Twitter to the Panthers' health updates Thursday were predictable and understandable, with fans bemoaning the latest injuries to running back Jonathan Stewart and second-year guard Edmund Kugbila (Jeff Otah 2.0).

But sometimes no news is good news, and that was the case with a name Panthers GM Dave Gettleman didn't mention when I asked him about the injured list:

Amini Silatolu.

Silatolu, the second-round pick from 2012, was part of a Panthers' guard rotation that seemed cursed last season.

Silatolu, Garry Williams, Jeff Byers, Chris Scott and Kugbila all missed significant time last season with injuries.

The Panthers were able to patch things together at guard, thanks to their signing of veteran Travelle Wharton and the steady play of the versatile Nate Chandler.

But the Panthers are a better team with a healthy Silatolu, who was figuring things out at the end of his rookie season before injuring his wrist in Week 15. Silatolu then missed the final 12 games last season after tearing his ACL in a Week 4 loss at Arizona.

As recently as five weeks ago, Silatolu said he still wasn't quite 100 percent. But after spending the summer in Charlotte working out and finishing up his rehab, Silatolu believes he is fully healed.

"It's been a long offseason with rehab, but I'm ready to go," he said Thursday. "I feel like it's 100 percent."

Silatolu slides back into the starting lineup at left guard, leaving Scott and rookie Trai Turner to battle it out at right guard. Williams, who's also healthy again following his own knee surgery, will work at guard and tackle.

And Wharton, who lives in Fort Mill and still has not announced his retirement, presumably would be available in a pinch.

But Silatolu hopes the Panthers' guards are due for some good karma following last season's parade to the training room.

"It was weird, but we had Nate stepping up," he said.

"We're all going to be competing," Silatolu added, "and I think we have a good set of guys."

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on July 25, 2014 at 11:27 AM | Permalink


Release the Kraken!!!

Posted by: The Kraken | Jul 25, 2014 11:44:34 AM

panthers will go 16-0

Posted by: joe | Jul 25, 2014 11:52:48 AM

stewart is pitiful...biggest wuss in the nfl...thanks for leaving us stuck with this guy marty

Posted by: bull123 | Jul 25, 2014 12:07:08 PM

Panthers have one good qb one good rb and some ok recievers I predict we will go 7-9 next season

Posted by: Professor sandy | Jul 25, 2014 12:24:55 PM

One of Hurney's many, many busts and Dave Gettleman's first draft bust going down on day 1. Great.

Stewart just really must hate the game of football, he sees a practice field and boom is hurt again. I'm not why Kugbilla hasn't been cut yet. Hopefully he will be soon, that guy is just dead weight. Here's to hoping Gettleman isn't like Hurney, and refuses to admit his mistake and keep this guy around entirely too long. That's a Hurney move!

Posted by: Rodriguez | Jul 25, 2014 1:32:52 PM

This will be the first time in Panther history that we have back 2 back winning seasons.

Posted by: Joshua David La Russa | Jul 25, 2014 1:35:36 PM


Posted by: William Aaron Berry III | Jul 25, 2014 2:18:29 PM

Hey guys, lets not talk bad about J-Stew. He has been working hard to get back on the field. Keep pounding!! Cammy Cam juice will be out soon.

Posted by: Cameron Newton | Jul 25, 2014 2:44:18 PM

Its time for Gettleman to admit his mistake and cut Kugbila. This guy is as brittle as they come and he is in the wrong line of work. It will also be time to part ways with Stewart at the end of the season. Go Panthers but I see this group coming in at about 6-10 and last place in the NFC South. The reason is that nothing was done by Gettleman in the offseason to improve a 12-4 team.

Posted by: Larry | Jul 25, 2014 3:25:05 PM

Ok Larry lets stay positive. Keep pounding!! Do you want a BOGO free coupon for Cammy Cam juice so you will smile more?

Posted by: Cameron Newton | Jul 25, 2014 4:12:48 PM

Don't compare this to Jeff Otah, while neither guy can control his injuries, at least we are only losing a 4th rounder. With Otah we lost the farm to get him in the 1st place.

Posted by: LB3 | Jul 25, 2014 5:08:27 PM

I'll never understand why so-called fans feel a need to insult injury prone players, as though they somehow get injured on purpose.

Posted by: Nate | Jul 26, 2014 1:28:34 AM

Nate, it's hard to think Stewart doesn't.

Posted by: Fred | Jul 26, 2014 1:15:27 PM

Not cool Fred,

Posted by: Jarrod | Jul 26, 2014 6:31:46 PM

Don't worry everyone, the Panthers will be alright when they sign me. My combine video is on youtube.

Posted by: John Downing | Jul 27, 2014 6:07:43 PM

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