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Jeff Otah's knee MRI gives Panthers some good news

Carolina Panthers right tackle Jeff Otah appears to have escaped his latest brush with the injury bug.

Coach Ron Rivera said Monday that an MRI revealed no serious damage to Otah's troublesome left knee, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Otah, a first-round draft pick in 2008, has missed 31 of the last 35 games with left knee problems. He started four games last season before eventually winding up on injured reserve for the third consecutive season.

Asked last week if Otah appeared heavier than last season, Rivera said, "I think Jeff looked like Jeff" and "he's a big guy."

Byron Bell, who started 12 games in place of Otah last season, has been working at first-team right tackle. Bruce Campbell also is in the mix. No, not that one.

This is an extremely important season for Otah, who's entering the final year of his rookie deal and badly needs to show some level of durability. If he navigates back to IR again, it could be the last we see of him.

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