Bryan Strickland Senior Writer
CHARLOTTE – Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell is doubtful for Sunday’s game at the Washington Redskins because of concussion-like symptoms, but defensive tackle Dwan Edwards has taken a step forward in his recovery from a sprained ankle.
Neither LaFell nor Edwards practiced all week, but Edwards did get in some good work on the sideline and is questionable along with defensive end Frank Alexander (knee), who had limited participation in practice Friday.
“It doesn’t (look good for LaFell),” Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said. “We were hoping to get him out today to do a little bit of work, but he didn’t work like we had hoped. We’ll see how he is tomorrow, and then we’ll go from there.
“Dwan got out there and did a lot of good work. I’m pretty excited about that. That was one of the big pluses of today’s practice, getting to watch Dwan work over on the sideline, as well as Frank Alexander. Frank was out there and did some participation stuff, so that was good to see. Both of those guys looked good.”
If LaFell isn’t active, Rivera said that Louis Murphy, Kealoha Pilares and Armanti Edwards would move up in the rotation behind Steve Smith. Rivera also said that either David Gettis or rookie Joe Adams could be added to the rotation.
Gettis, who hasn’t played since 2010, currently is on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. The Panthers have until Tuesday to add Gettis to the 53-man roster or leave him on the PUP list for the rest of the season.
LaFell, who leads the Panthers with an average of 18.3 yards per catch and two touchdown receptions, suffered the injury in the third quarter of last Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. He went to the locker room and passed the NFL’s concussion protocol, allowing him to return to the game. But he complained of neck pain and a headache on Monday and went back into the protocol, where he remains.
Defensive ends Antwan Applewhite (hamstring) and Thomas Keiser (elbow) did not practice all week and are also doubtful. Center Geoff Hangartner (knee), linebacker Thomas Davis (knee) and tight end Ben Hartsock (ankle) fully participated in Friday’s practice and are probable.
The Panthers also made a roster move Friday. The team signed offensive lineman Zack Williams – who can play guard or center – from the practice and waived center Thomas Austin. Selected by Carolina in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Williams spent his rookie season on injured reserve with a knee injury suffered in training camp. Austin was inactive for two games after being signed as a free agent on Oct. 11 following a season-ending injury to center Ryan Kalil.