Panthers DE Johnson carted off field early with ankle injury

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson was carted off the practice field with a left ankle injury.

Coach Ron Rivera didn't know the specifics, but said Sunday that he doesn't believe the injury is serious. Rivera says ''until they get a chance to take a look I really couldn't tell you what it was.''

Johnson is the team's top pass rusher and a key cog in a defense that has finished in the top 10 in each of the past three seasons. The 29-year-old Johnson has 62 1/2 sacks during his eight seasons with the Panthers, including at least 8 1/2 sacks in each of the past five seasons.

Defensive tackle Kawann Short returned to practice after missing the past week with a sore back.


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