Today it was revealed that some unspecified illness has stricken DT Frank Kearse and DE Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers.
Hardy is now listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. Rookie DE Frank Alexander may see more playing time or start this Sunday unless the illness clears up. Since Hardy was probable yesterday then downgraded today, it would appear that whatever it is that he has is hitting him hardest right about now.
In any case, it looks like he won’t play at all unless it’s something that clears up today. He’s going to be weak tomorrow relative to his health in game one against the Bucs where he had 7 tackles. We all know how explosive the Saints’ offense is so the Panthers need everyone they can get.
Kearse is a 2nd-yr backup DT but with the release of Terrell McClain it’s another player familiar with the system that won’t be available from last season.
It’s something to certainly keep an eye on if any other Carolina Panthers show symptoms later today or even until kickoff tomorrow at 1:00 pm Eastern time and their home opener. Kearse isn’t listed below, but Hardy is. Kearse could be in for the worst of his illness on game day.
Here are the others on Carolina’s injury list:
Steve Smith WR Knee Limited Participation in Practice Questionable
Jeff Byers C Knee Full Participation in Practice Probable
Jonathan Stewart RB Ankle Limited Participation in Practice Questionable
Greg Hardy DE Illness Full Participation in Practice Probable
Kenny Onatolu LB Not Injury Related Did Not Participate In Practice Probable
Mike Pollak G Shoulder Did Not Participate In Practice Doubtful
I suspect Smith and Stewart will both play and the “limited participation” is simply to help let them heal a little better. They’re veterans for game day and Jonathan Stewart’s physical style is needed even more than before as the Panthers want to control the football against the high-octane Saints.
As for Hardy and Smith…all we can do is wait until Sunday morning to find out if either one plays. I just hope the bug isn’t spreading.
Definitely check that injury report if you’re a fantasy owner of any Panthers’ player.