After saying on Friday that he wasn’t concerned with Kawann Short’s calf injury, the Panthers have listed defensive tackle Kawann Short as doubtful for the Panthers Monday night matchup after Short missed his second consecutive practice with an injury that popped up earlier this week.
But even with the doubtful designation, Rivera remained unfettered in his optimism.
“I still have no concern,” said Rivera after practice Saturday. “We’ll have to wait and see on this one so we won’t know until probably Monday morning. The final decision won’t come until Monday, probably; he’s been doing what the trainers are having him do on the side. When I get a chance to look over and watch, I thought he’d moved around well, so….whatever the trainers tell me, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to push anybody through anything or force anything.”
“That’s how you get an unhappy person.”
If Rivera’s optimistic hopes are dashed and Short is unable to play, the Panthers would have former first-round pick Vernon Butler, who has been inactive that past two weeks, active and he would see more reps, along with Wes Horton, who the Panthers have been rotating through at the defensive tackle 3-technique spot; both Rivera and Eric Washington like what they’ve seen from Horton in the inside role.
“Wes has played well for us on the inside,” said Rivera. “Wes has played well all year, he’s done a nice job, he really has. [He brings] a taller presence inside.”
Short’s presence will be sorely missed against the Saints, who have the fourth-highest number of rush attempts in the NFL and utilize a combination of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram on the ground – Short, who hasn’t missed a game since 2014, leads the defensive line in both tackles and tackles for loss. He also has three sacks and 27.5 since the beginning of the 2015 season, the third-most in the NFL over that span.
Short has 12 tackles for a loss on the season – the rest of the defensive tackles, including Horton, who played on the edge for much of the season – have six between the four of them.
Thomas Davis missed practice Saturday for personal reasons and is expected to be available on Monday; Graham Gano continues to nurse a sore knee and will be replaced by Chandler Catanzaro, who made all of his attempts last Sunday at Cleveland.
Edit: The Panthers updated Short to “questionable” on Sunday morning. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for updates on Monday!
The full injury report:
|Kawann Short||Calf||Doubtful||Rivera said they will wait and see for Monday Morning|
|Graham Gano||Left Knee||None|