Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he wasn’t concerned about defensive tackle Kawann Short’s availability for Monday night’s game against the New Orleans Saints (11-2) — even as the former Pro Bowler missed practice Thursday and Friday with a calf injury.
Short was officially listed as doubtful on the Panthers’ final injury report of the week after missing his third practice Saturday, but Rivera’s belief remained the same.
“I’ve still got no concern,” he said. “We have to wait and see on this one. We won’t know until probably Monday morning.”
Rivera described Short as more of a game-time decision than anything, saying the team will evaluate him over the weekend before making a final decision Monday. The Panthers (6-7) are in the middle of a five-game losing streak and have their work cut out for them in a must-win game against the NFL’s seventh-ranked offense.
Regardless of the game’s importance, Rivera said the team’s trainers will determine Short’s availability.
“Whatever the trainers tell me, that’s what I’m going to do,” he said. “I’m not going to push anybody through anything and force anything. (That’s how) you get an unhappy person. So I listen to what the trainers tell me.”
Short, a 2013 second-round draft pick out of Purdue, is yet to miss a regular-season game in his NFL career. After recording 24.5 sacks from 2015 to 2017 — the 12th-most for a defensive lineman during that span — Short has just three sacks in 2018.
Vernon Butler would presumably replace Short on the Panthers’ defensive line if he is ruled out, while Wes Horton rotates in as a 3-technique lineman.
Kicker Graham Gano was officially ruled out for Monday’s game with a left knee injury, paving the way for recently signed kicker Chandler Catanzaro to make his second start since signing with Carolina last week. Gano didn’t practice at all this week.
Left tackle Chris Clark, who missed practice Wednesday with a knee injury, practiced in full Friday and Saturday and will play Monday barring any setbacks.
Thomas Davis missed Saturday’s practice for personal reasons, while Julius Peppers (rest) was limited. Rashaan Gaulden, who didn’t practice Wednesday with an undisclosed illness, practiced in full Friday and Saturday.