Kemoeatu (ankle), Lewis (shoulder) miss practice

Updated: December 24, 2008, 3:58 PM ET
Associated Press

The Carolina Panthers were without both starting defensive tackles at practice Wednesday, ahead of their regular-season finale against the league's top offense.

Maake Kemoeatu, who missed last Sunday's loss to the Giants with a sprained right ankle, rode a stationary bike during the workout. Damione Lewis, who injured his shoulder against the Giants, also sat out.

That could leave the Panthers with Darwin Walker and rookie Nick Hayden as the starters against high-scoring New Orleans in a game Carolina (11-4) needs to win to secure the No. 2 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye in the playoffs.

"They weren't able to practice today and we'll see what tomorrow brings," coach John Fox said. "Neither one of them are out for an extended time. It's just a matter of getting them ready. When the medical people clear them, they'll play."

The Giants rushed for 301 yards in their 34-28 overtime win Sunday, taking advantage of the Panthers' problems up front. Backup defensive tackle Gary Gibson was hampered by a broken hand in that game, and was placed on injured reserve Tuesday.

The Panthers filled the roster spot by signing defensive tackle J'Vonne Parker, who had been on Atlanta's practice squad. Hayden was signed off the Panthers' practice squad Saturday.

"It's all concerning. We're playing the No. 1 offense in the league," Fox said.

Starting receiver Muhsin Muhammad (foot) and tight end Jeff King (knee) also missed practice Wednesday.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press