Charles Johnson “more than likely” out Sunday

AP

The Panthers have built their six-game win streak on the play of a strong defense, which is based on the strength of the front four.

Half of that group was missing from practice Thursday, and at least one of them isn’t expected to play Sunday against the Dolphins, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said defensive end Charles Johnson was “more than likely” out Sunday, after taking a leg-whip from Patriots tackle Marcus Cannon Monday night. His absence has been described as week-to-week, and that’s apparently going to cost him at least one.

Meanwhile, defensive end Greg Hardy skipped practice with a sore knee, which Rivera described as precautionary. Hardy went through walk-throughs and complained of soreness, and was given the day off.

As good as the Panthers have looked lately, missing Johnson’s a huge blow, and the possibility of Hardy being out could be a disaster. The Panthers are rotating a group including Frank Alexander, Mario Addison and Wes Horton in reserve.