The Carolina Panthers injuries on the defensive side of the ball are starting to stack up.
During Thursday’s practice, defensive end Austin Larkin left on a cart due to a groin injury, the extent of which is not yet known. Coach Matt Rhule also shared that cornerback A.J. Bouye will miss at least a couple of weeks with an undisclosed muscle strain.
Bouye is the starting nickel corner and while his absence is not ideal, it will give younger players more opportunities. The veteran cornerback is also suspended for the first two games of the 2021 season due to violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Linebackers Shaq Thompson and Denzel Perryman also missed Thursday’s practice due to soft-tissue injuries, although Thompson is making progress. He left Saturday night’s practice early and has not practiced fully since. He was limited in Thursday’s session and is expected to be the first of the injured players to return to the field.
The linebacker position is hurting for healthy players. Jermaine Carter continued to get first-team snaps, as well as Clay Johnston, a former Baylor player and largely a member of the practice squad last year.
Perryman has no timetable on his injury. The veteran has not played a full 16-game season during his six-year NFL career due to injuries.
“I don’t know. I really don’t know how long his will take,” Rhule said of Perryman’s injury.
Defensive tackle DaQuan Jones did not participate in practice Thursday as he received a veteran’s day off. Rhule said he liked how Jones was playing, such as running to the ball downfield. Second-year tackle Bravvion Roy took snaps with the first-team in his absence.
Due to the injuries and veteran day for Jones, four defensive starters were missing from Thursday’s practice.
Injuries on the offensive side of the ball have been more limited. Wide receiver Keith Kirkwood remains in the concussion protocol after suffering a hit to the neck that sent him to the hospital. Running back Darius Clark is also in the concussion protocol but is making his way back to the field.