Panthers hoping to get expensive ends back for opener

AP

For all the focus on the things Cam Newton has and hasn’t done this preseason, the Panthers have other injury issues.

According to Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review, defensive ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy won’t play in this week’s preseason finale, with an eye toward having them ready for the regular season.

Johnson has been bothered by a hamstring problem throughout camp, and Hardy aggravated a shoulder injury Friday night.

That left them without 21 percent of their salary cap on the sidelines Monday, and they’ll have some depth questions moving forward. They have sufficient reserves, but with Frank Alexander suspended for the first four games for violating the PED policy, they could struggle if one or both of the starters is less than 100 percent.

And with all the problems they have offensively, that’s not an area they can afford to be at less than full strength.