Panthers going slowly with David Gettis

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- David Gettis, who at one point was viewed as a possible starter at wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, will miss the first preseason game.

Coach Ron Rivera said Monday that the team’s training staff is optimistic Gettis will be ready to come off the physically unable to perform list and begin practicing some time in the next four or five days. Gettis is coming back from a knee injury that kept him out all of last season and Rivera said all the reports are positive.

But all indications are that Brandon LaFell has been having a nice camp and likely will end up as the starter opposite Steve Smith. That means Gettis probably will be competing with Louis Murphy and Seyi Ajirotutu for the No. 3 receiver job. Rivera also praised what Kealoha Pilares, Armanti Edwards and rookies Joe Adams and Jared Green have done so far in camp. Murphy and Ajirotutu took turns at No. 3 receiver in Monday morning’s walk-through session.

Rivera wouldn’t set a target date for when Gettis will get his first game action in the preseason.

“It’s not like we’re in a hurry,’’ Rivera said. “That’s the best part. We’re not being held hostage waiting for a game to come around. We’re in a situation where we’ve got a good group of guys. You look at those guys and you think there are guys that can step up.’’