By Ted Fleming
For the second straight game, the Carolina Panthers are still a bit dinged up in the secondary, but thanks to the bye they are in better shape than they were going into the Giants contest two weeks ago. The only starter that will miss Sunday’s game is Quintin Mikell.
Robert Lester, who had such a marvelous game in his NFL debut after being signed off the practice squad and inserted as a starter, will once again be put on the spot at strong safety replacing Mikell.
Backup corner D.J. Moore is also listed as out, although he is listed third on the depth charts behind starter Captain Munnerlyn and backup Josh Norman.
Starting defensive tackle Dwan Edwards is the only significant injury on the line for Carolina, and while Kawann Short has been hobbled with an ankle injury, he should be ready to go. Sione Fua would be in reserve should Short have issues.
Defensive end Greg Hardy missed practice all week with an undisclosed illness and is listed as probable. Mario Addison would be up next, but head coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott could move Frank Alexander over from the left side in a pinch.
The Cardinals will be without safety Rashad Johnson, who lost the tip of his middle finger two weeks ago and has yet to return to practice. Former LSU standout Tyrann Mathieu should get the start once again. He picked up his first career interception in Week 3 against the Saints in a game where he recorded 10 tackles. Last week he added six more, giving him 29 for the season good for second on the team. Like the Panthers Luke Kuechly, Mathieu has a nose for the ball and is known to make the big play.
The following is the injury report issued on Friday by the National Football League for the Panthers-Cardinals game at University of Phoenix Stadium (63,400) in Phoenix, AZ on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013:
Carolina Panthers (1-2):
- *DT Dwan Edwards (hamstring)
- *S Quintin Mikell (ankle)
- CB D.J. Moore (knee)
- *DE Greg Hardy (illness)
- DT Kawann Short (ankle)
Arizona Cardinals (2-2):
- *S Rashad Johnson
- *DT Darnell Dockett (groin) Limited practice Thursday
- LB Jasper Brinkley (groin) Limited practice Thursday
- *G Daryn Colledge (shin) Limited practice Thursday
- LB Kevin Minter (hamstring) Limited practice Thursday
- DE Ronald Talley (wrist) Limited practice Thursday
Out: there is no chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
Doubtful: a 25% chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
Questionable: a 50% chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
Probable: a 75% chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
For more Carolina Panthers news and updates, visit Carolina Panthers Central.
Ted Fleming is a freelance writer covering all things Carolina Panthers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.