Mini Camp Wrap-up

The Carolina Panthers ended their first mini camp of 2007 on a relatively good note, despite a big scare during practice. PantherInsider.com writer John Watson was in attendance today, and noted a scary scene when star WR Steve Smith went down with what many thought to be a bad injury.

"Smith went for a high pass thrown by Carr and came down hard, grabbed his leg and rolled around on the ground," Watson wrote in our PantherInsider.com forums. "What little noise was present feel silent as he lay there. It was hard to tell what happened at first, but he was helped to the bench and his knee was iced. He walked past me a little later after the session and looked to be walking well. I would to assume that he collided with the CB on the play and maybe knocked knees or got some sort of bone on bone collision."

Panthers head coach John Fox addressed the media afterwards and assured everyone that Smith was OK.

"He landed on it (knee) funny but he's fine," Fox said. "Anytime a player goes down, it's scary. It always is, especially when it's that guy. 2004 was flashing in front of my eyes."

The extent of the injury isn't known, but Smith will have plenty of time to heal any injury he might have sustained. "We'll continue our offseason conditioning back here on Monday," Fox said. "The rookies will come back a week later. Then we start May 30th for summer school and we'll do that for 11 opportunities. Then we'll give them a little break and be in Spartanburg before you know it."

- John Watson noted that new backup QB David Carr "looked solid with a cannon of an arm but his accuracy was off. Carr's mobility is very good, he got flushed from the pocket by McClover and took off."

- Watson also noted that the "DB's did a lot of work on their own; Tim Lewis is much more animated than the guy he replaced and you could tell the DB's were all ears when he was speaking."

- Nate Salley took the reps with the starters at the other safety opposite of Mike Minter, by default. Salley is the only player on the roster that is familiar with the system, (besides Deke Cooper, who was briefly with Carolina a few years ago). "We have high hopes for him (Salley), there is no doubt," Coach Fox said. "These practices are opportunities for everybody, whether you are a first-time college free agent or a draft pick or even a veteran who's trying to earn a spot. As I tell those guys, they pick the team; I don't. Their performance on the field will dictate that. Nate is a guy we have high regard for, and he's made progress in this mini-camp." Reading into that, it's likely that someone will step up and take the starting job away; Salley doesn't possess a great deal of speed and has very little experience. It's highly likely that the starter isn't even on the roster at this point.


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