Early in the week there might have been some concern who would be in the lineup for the Carolina Panthers as they host the Seahawks in the season opener, but a lot changed in the days leading up to the NFL’s final injury report released Friday.
The first bit of good news was that Mike Tolbert was back at practice after missing the entire preseason with hamstring woes and is now listed as probable. Arguably the best blocker on the team, Tolbert is also very versatile where he is the perfect go-to guy in short yardage situations as well as being able to come out of the backfield for passes. His presence in the lineup opens up Mike Shula’s offensive playbook for quarterback Cam Newton.
Kenjon Barner, on the other hand, was expected to step in at running back for Jonathan Stewart when he was placed on the physically unable to perform list until he hurt his foot. He is out for the first game and second-year pro Armond Smith will get his shot.
On defense the Panthers are in relatively good shape with only starting safety Mike Mitchell listed as doubtful. Quintin Mikell, an 11-year NFL veteran who was signed just four days ago when Haruki Nakamura went in injured reserve, gets an immediate start. Backup corner CB James Dockery will also miss the game.
The following is the injury report issued on Friday by the National Football League for the Seahawks-Panthers game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013:
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, 0-0 (** denotes starter):
T Michael Bowie (shoulder), **DE Chris Clemons (knee), DT Jordan Hill (biceps)
DE Cliff Avril (hamstring)
**CB Brandon Browner (hamstring)
**DT Tony McDaniel (groin), **DT Brandon Mebane (groin), **WR Sidney Rice (knee), WR Stephen Williams (concussion)
CAROLINA PANTHERS 0-0 (** denotes starter):
RB Kenjon Barner (foot), CB James Dockery (thumb)
**S Michael Mitchell (calf)
**DT Dwan Edwards (thigh), WR Domenik Hixon (hamstring), **G Amini Silatolu (hamstring)
**LB Jon Beason (knee), TE Ben Hartsock (foot), **FB Mike Tolbert (hamstring)
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