CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers have placed former first-round draft pick and starting right tackle Jeff Otah on injured reserve for the third time in four seasons. Otah has been struggling with back and knee issues stemming from two prior knee surgeries. The Panthers decided to shut him down for the season to give him time to rest and fully recover, sensing he wasnt getting any better. He missed last weeks game against Atlanta because of back problems. Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said Wednesday that Otah will not need surgery. "I think we want to make sure that we give him time to strengthen that knee as much as it can be," Hurney said. By the end of this season, Otah will have missed 35 games due to injuries while starting just 29. Undrafted rookie Byron Bell, who has started twice this season in place of Otah at right tackle, is expected to start Sunday against the Washington Redskins. If Bell struggles, the Panthers could move left guard Travelle Wharton out to right tackle. The team has added veteran offensive lineman Reggie Wells to the roster. "Knee injuries, every time theyre operated on, theyre significant," Hurney said. "Its just getting that knee to the strength it needs to be and to not cause other problems and to get it strong as it can." Weight issues may have contributed to Otahs back and knee problems. He reported to training camp at 355 pounds, about 25 pounds more than his listed weight in the media guide. Rivera said Otah got down to 338 pounds with the help of the teams conditioning staff. He said players not being allowed to workout with team trainers this off-season because of the NFL lockout hurt Otahs chances of getting back healthy this year. "It was disappointing," Rivera said of the decision. "It started with the back and then as things progressed the knee started bothering him. This to me speaks the importance of having off-season programs and having a guy around where he can rehabilitate and get ready to play." Otah was unavailable for comment. His problems first began in December of 2009 when he tore the meniscus in his left knee. He had surgery and was placed on injured reserve, missing the final three games. He was expected to be back at full strength in 2010, but a minor arthroscopic knee operation during training camp wound up keeping him out all of last year. Otah participated in most of training camp this year and started four games, but conditioning issues prompted the Panthers to replace him at various points during games with Bell. Otahs contract runs through the 2012 season. Hes due to make slightly more than $1 million next season. Hurney said he believes Otah will be back. "Were confident and I think hes confident that he can work and get it stronger and the future will be bright," Hurney said. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said hes been impressed with Bell, saying "Im on his bandwagon, so to speak." "Everybody knows talented Jeff was and that injury is going to affect the team but at the same time we cant mourn over that," Newton said. "I think Byron knows that. He has a lot of confidence in himself. He has some games under his belt so everybody knows what hes capable of doing. Everybody expects there wont be any hiccups." Otah becomes the fifth starter the Panthers have lost to a season-ending injury this year, joining linebackers Jon Beason and Thomas Davis, defensive tackle Ron Edwards, wide receiver David Gettis and guard Geoff Schwartz on injured reserve. NOTES: Rivera said Jason Phillips will start in place of Jason Williams this Sunday against Washington at outside linebacker and added the team may mix up its defensive line rotation after allowing Michael Turner to rush for 139 yards and two touchdowns in Sundays 31-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. ... Rookie cornerback Brandon Hogan practiced Wednesday for the first time with the Panthers. They have three weeks to decide whether or not to activate Hogan from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Hogan tore his ACL last December while playing for West Virginia. ... Tight end Greg Olsen was held out of practice with a turf toe injury, but is expected to return to work Thursday, Rivera said. Also, linebacker Thomas Williams and safety Jordan Pugh were held out with concussions, while linebacker Omar Gaither remains sidelined with a sprained MCL in his knee. cheap jerseys china
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. The second-ranked Serb, who is on a 22-match unbeaten run, has to do what he has done numerous times in the past: win both singles matches to give the small Balkan country a chance in the best-of-five series starting Friday. DULUTH, Ga. -- UFC president Dana White has dismissed Georges St-Pierres concerns about drug testing, calling them ridiculous and "a little kooky." White, speaking after Wednesday nights fight card at the Arena at Gwinnett Center outside of Atlanta, had harsh words for his former pay-per-view king who announced he was taking a hiatus from the sport after a controversial win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in November. "What I heard is Georges St-Pierre is upset about some of the things I said at the (UFC 167) press conference and hes upset that I said that he didnt win the fight, that I thought Johny Hendricks won the fight," White said when asked about GSPs drug-testing comments earlier this week. "But if thats the case, call me man-to-man. Lets talk on the phone, lets sit down face-to-face. I talked to him after the fight face-to-face, he didnt say any of that to me. So the whole thing is a little weird." "Everything Georges St-Pierre says is a little kooky," White added. St-Pierre spoke his mind Tuesday in his native Montreal when asked by a reporter about the UFC not supporting him when he proposed drug testing in the weeks preceding the Hendricks fight. White said deals for such extra testing never come to fruition. "You see it in boxing all the time. One guy comes out and says I want to do extra drug testing because Im worried about this guy and I want to see whats going on. They never come to an agreement. This guy says I want to use this one, this guy says I want to use that one. "The Nevada State Athletic Commission is going to test them, OK?" The Nevada commission routinely tests all fighters on its cards for performance-enhancing and illegal street drugs. The commmission also does random testing (heavyweight Alistair Overeem tested positive for elevated testosterone on a random test).dddddddddddd The UFC boss also pointed out that St-Pierre asked for the extra tests to prove that he wasnt cheating, not because he thought Hendricks was taking anything. St-Pierre, he said, had been accused of cheating for years but had never tested positive for anything. White also defending the sports drug-testing policies, saying both heavyweight Josh Barnett and opponent Travis Browne were tested before their recent fight because of Barnetts drug history. "We paid for that drug testing. Also, for him (St-Pierre) to say were very lenient on drug testing, when we go out of the country and we regulate ourselves we test everybody on the card, not just the main event, not just the co-main event." White pointed to the Antonio (Bigfoot) Silva-Mark Hunt fight in Australia, where the UFC had tested Silva for testosterone levels. "So we tested him again after and his levels were through the roof and he got destroyed. Lost the win money that we gave him, lost the bonus money that we gave him, and obviously hes not getting an extra bonus. The guy got smashed, and hes suspended for a year. So if thats lenient on drugs I guess were lenient then. I mean, I dont even know what to say to it." White also dumped on St-Pierre for not reaching out with his complaints directly. "Ive been on planes, and doing all this stuff. Lorenzo (UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta) reached out to him and Lorenzo still hasnt heard from him yet. If Georges St-Pierre wants to talk like a man he can pick up the phone and call us or come see us face-to-face, but everything that he said is ridiculous." ' ' '