BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Tom Rouen vs. Jason Baker for starting P: Rouen appears to be getting more height and distance on his punts at this point, but the battle is long from over. Panthers head coach John Fox said he doesn't place a lot of emphasis on what the punters do until game time.
OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: WR Drew Carter vs. Ricky Proehl. Carter is looking to nail down the fourth WR spot on the roster and so far has looked impressive. Carter has shown great speed, but can he do it in real games?
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: You have to hand it to CB Ricky Manning. He could have sulked after being replaced in the starting lineup by Ken Lucas, but instead Manning has taken a workmanlike approach and gone about his business. He is having a great training camp so far and will now work with the first team with Ken Lucas out with a hamstring pull.
ROOKIE REPORT: First-round draft pick Thomas Davis is still working as the second-team strong safety behind Colin Branch. There was some thought the team might move Branch back to free safety after the injury to Mike Minter, but they have not. Instead, Idrees Bashir has stepped in to start at free safety.
INJURY REPORT: The Carolina Panthers breathed a collective sigh of relief on Friday after learning starting free safety Mike Minter did not suffer a serious knee injury.
Medical tests revealed Minter has a second-degree knee sprain, but no structural or ligament damage after 300-pound teammate Brentson Buckner landed on his leg during full-contact goal-line drills during Thursday afternoon's practice.
"I'm a little sore right now, but I think it's going to be OK," Minter said Friday. "It's definitely not as bad as I thought it was when it happened. It's day-to-day and I think it will start settling down a bit and then I can tell a little more after that."
Panthers head coach John Fox was relieved by the news.
"Usually when something bad happens, it requires surgery. With this it's just rehab and rest," Fox said.
Minter, 31, said he's likely to have an MRI on Saturday at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte as a precautionary measure, but doctors have told him they don't expect anything is seriously wrong.
While Minter might be listed as day-to-day, he admitted it's highly unlikely he'll play in Carolina's preseason opener Aug. 13 against the Washington Redskins. Minter should be ready when the Panthers open the regular season Sept. 11 against New Orleans.
Given that Minter has started 109 games during his NFL career and knows Fox's defense inside and out, the Panthers are likely not to rush him back anytime soon.
--CB Ken Lucas pulled a hamstring in Saturday's practice and said he probably will not play in the preseason opener against Washington. The Panthers had Sunday off and right now there is no updated information on the extent of his injury.
--Also out for the Panthers on Saturday were running back Stephen Davis (knee), offensive linemen Bill Ferrario (calf strain), Matt Hill (knee), Tupe Peko (knee) and wide receiver Antoine Burns (hamstring).
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Camp Report: August 8th
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