Panthers OL injury woes continue as Trai Turner enters concussion protocol

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Pro Bowl right guard Trai Turner, who missed three games with a concussion last season, is in danger of missing the Carolina Panthers' NFC South opener against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday because of another concussion.

It is the latest blow to an offensive line that already is missing starting left tackle Matt Kalil (knee), right tackle Daryl Williams (knee) and Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen (knee).

Kalil is on injured reserve with a designation to return after eight games. Williams was placed on injured reserve Wednesday after reinjuring his right knee, which forced him to miss most of training camp. Olsen will be evaluated on a monthly basis after refracturing his right foot, which forced him to miss nine games last season.

"You do get concerned about it," coach Ron Rivera said of the rash of injuries to the line. "But I feel comfortable in the depth we had. We did some things consciously in the number of offensive linemen we kept on the roster when we initially set it. So far, it's been one of those things [where] we've been able to pull from those guys."

Rivera said Turner wasn't feeling well after Sunday's 16-8 victory over Dallas and, after being evaluated by team trainer Ryan Vermillion, was placed in the protocol.

Amini Silatolu replaced Turner last season and could do so again. Tyler Larsen and undrafted rookie Brendan Mahon also will get a look there.

Silatolu came in at right tackle on Sunday when Williams went down. The Panthers appear more intent on going with Corey Robinson, acquired in a trade with Detroit two weeks ago, and veteran Chris Clark at tackle against the Falcons.

Clark, who signed on Wednesday, was placed on IR with an ankle injury last season by the Houston Texans. He was the starting left tackle at the time, but can play either side. The 32-year-old has played in 106 games and started 53 between Denver and Houston.

Rivera said it's too early to say which side Clark will play against Atlanta. Taylor Moton, who was filling in for Kalil at left tackle after previously filling in for Williams at right tackle, also can play either side.

"The big thing about Chris is he's a veteran guy, he's done it, has started a whole bunch of games in this league and is in great shape right now," Rivera said.

"We've got a lot of new faces in that locker room," quarterback Cam Newton said. "They just keep coming and going, coming and going. We've just got to stay focused and make sure they understand what the expectations are. Nobody really cares about how long you've been here."

The Panthers opted not to sign a tight end to replace Olsen. They will go with rookie Ian Thomas, Chris Manhertz and H-back/fullback Alex Armah.

"We think all three of those guys can fill the role for us that we need," Rivera said. "We'll go forward with that for now. The game plan doesn't change at all. We feel those three guys can carry the load."