Max Henson Staff Writer
CHARLOTTE – Panthers rookie left guard Amini Silatolu dislocated his wrist on the second offensive play of Sunday’s win over the Raiders. As a result, the offensive line will likely field its eighth different starting combination in the regular season finale at New Orleans.
“The big concern is Amini,” head coach Ron Rivera said. “It’s disappointing because the last few weeks he really has played to who we thought he could become. He’s a guy that’s worked very hard.”
Silatolu and left tackle Jordan Gross are the only offensive linemen to have started all 15 games.
“Going forward, we’ll have to make some decisions to sure that line up as we get ready to play the Saints,” Rivera said.
The return of center Geoff Hangartner would help. Hangartner has missed the last two games with a foot injury.
“(Geoff) would be very key,” Rivera said. “If he continues to improve there will be an opportunity for him to play. We’ll see how that all unfolds once we get into the work week on Wednesday.”
This is a work week the Panthers are very much looking forward to as they prepare to face the division rival Saints.
These two teams met at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the regular season finale last year as well, and New Orleans scored 28 unanswered points in the second half for a 45-17 victory.
Rivera and several players said they didn’t like the Saints aerial approach with the game in hand, and they are playing for some redemption this time around, hoping for a satisfying end to the 2012 season.
“It’s not about what they did. It’s about what we let them do,” Rivera said.
“If you don’t like it, go out and do something about it. Play hard, play smart, play physical, play fast. That’s the bottom line. That’s how I’ll address it.”