Rivera expects Panthers DT Lotulelei back for regular season

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Panthers coach Ron Rivera says he expects starting defensive tackle Star Lotulelei to be back on the field for the Sept. 13 regular-season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The former first-round draft pick has missed most of training camp and both preseason games with a stress reaction in his right foot.

For now, he remains in a boot and continues to be held out of practice. Lotulelei broke the same foot in practice last January causing him to miss Carolina's NFC division round playoff game against Seattle.

Lotulelei's role with the Panthers is to occupy double teams up front and allow linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis to run to the ball and make plays.

Defensive end Charles Johnson (calf) and wide receiver Devin Funchess (hamstring) also did not practice Tuesday.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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