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Travelle Wharton could step right in and start for Panthers injury-depleted offensive line

Travelle Wharton could go from late-summer acquisition to opening day starter for the Carolina Panthers.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera says last year's starting left guard Amini Silatolu "more than likely" will miss the Sept. 8 regular season opener with a hamstring injury, opening an opportunity for Wharton to step in and start at his old position.

The 32-year-old Wharton, who started 99 games for the Panthers from 2004-11, re-signed with his former team on Sunday after injuries left the offensive line depleted.

Wharton was greeted by his teammates' collective chant of "Tra-Velle" as he stepped on the football field Monday for the first time in more than a year.

Wharton says the practice went well and hopes to put last year's season-ending knee injury with Cincinnati behind him.

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Online: AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org