SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) Panthers starting defensive tackle Star Lotulelei was carted to the locker room with his right foot taped in ice.

It's the same foot that Lotulelei fractured in January, preventing him from playing in the team's NFC divisional playoff game against Seattle.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Monday after practice the 2013 first-round draft pick has been experiencing soreness in the ankle and was taken to the locker room as a precautionary measure. Rivera said Dr. Robert Anderson would look at Lotulelei after practice.

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Rivera says ''it just started to get sore, so doc just felt it would be better to take it in. We might be being overly protective about it.''

Lotulelei, considered a space eater in the middle of Carolina's defensive line, had 27 tackles and two sacks last season.

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