Testaverde misses practice, Carr ruled out; Panthers QB in flux

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Just when it appears the Carolina Panthers have some idea of their quarterback situation, they hold another practice and everything changes.

After practicing for two straight days, Vinny Testaverde was held out of Friday's workout because of pain that returned in his right Achilles tendon. That came the same day David Carr was ruled out of Sunday's game against Atlanta because of a concussion.

For a team that has had five injuries to four quarterbacks since the preseason, it's come to this: undrafted rookie Matt Moore, with the team since September, could start against the Falcons. His backup might be his former UCLA teammate, Drew Olson, who was signed to the practice squad Tuesday and has never thrown a pass in the NFL.

"I walk in here the same way you guys walk in here," coach John Fox said of the constant uncertainty at quarterback. "My parking space just may be a little closer."

Earlier this week it appeared Testaverde, who turns 44 next week, would start against the Falcons. He sat out last Sunday's loss to Tennessee with the Achilles' tendon injury, first suffered in the first half against Indianapolis on Oct. 28.

On Wednesday, Testaverde said he felt great. He practiced again Thursday, but something happened overnight.

"I wouldn't say it's a setback," Fox said. "It was a little sore and we just decided to rest him."

Fox said Carr would not play against Atlanta, even though he did practice Friday for the first time this week. Carr sustained a concussion against Tennessee.

"It's a little bit different environment practicing than playing," Fox said.

Carr is also not completely healthy from a back injury that forced the team to sign Testaverde, who started four days later against Arizona and became the oldest starting quarterback to win an NFL game.

Carr had taken over for Jake Delhomme, who was lost to a season-ending elbow injury in Week 3. Brett Basanez, projected to be the third-string QB in the preseason, is out for the year with a wrist injury.

So if Testaverde doesn't improve -- he's listed as questionable -- Moore could be under center Sunday afternoon. Moore, undrafted out of Oregon State after transferring from UCLA, was cut by Dallas in the preseason. The Panthers signed him in September and he's played briefly in three games, completing 3 of 7 passes with one interception.

"I've had confidence in every guy we've sent out there, from Jake all the way to Vinny with three days practice," Fox said. "I think everybody on the team and everybody on the coaching staff has confidence in whoever goes out there."

If Moore is forced to start, the Panthers would likely have to sign Olson to the active roster Saturday to be the backup. Olson, who beat out Moore as the starter at UCLA, spent last season on Baltimore's practice squad. He was out of the league until the Panthers called on Tuesday.

Olson was brought in to run the scout team this week, but Fox said they also have taught Olson some of the Panthers' offense.

As had happened so many times this season, Fox left the practice field Friday with no idea who his starting quarterback will be.

"I'm not being evasive," Fox said. "Honestly, it's day to day."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.

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