Rivera: 'Smith speaks from the heart'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina coach Ron Rivera had some concerns over the officiating in Sunday's 22-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, but he didn't articulate them as loudly as wide receiver Steve Smith.

Smith called umpire Dan Ferrell "garbage'' on Monday for missing at least one pass interference call and for not giving him the proper spot on a third-down play.

"To be honest, I make enough money where if Roger [Goodell] wants to fine me, he can,'' Smith said of the NFL commissioner. "I really think that referee probably was the sorriest referee I have ever met.''

Rivera wouldn't get into specifics, but said he sent in "things that we're concerned with'' as the league allows coaches to do following games.

"I took advantage of what I'm allowed to do through the league, and they handle it in a very professional manner as was our approach,'' Rivera said.

Asked if they were specific plays such as the ones Smith addressed, Rivera said, "There were plays. Again, it's what we do. We send them in, we talk about them and we try to get those things worked out."

As for Smith, Rivera said, "I know this. Steve speaks from the heart and Steve made his comments and he's sticking with them. We'll go from there."

As of Wednesday's open locker room period, Smith had not been notified by the league of a fine.

Sticking with Lester: Robert Lester was held out of Wednesday's practice with a sore hamstring, but Rivera said the undrafted rookie out of Alabama will continue to start at strong safety even though veteran Quintin Mikell returned from an ankle injury.

Other injury updates: Tight end Greg Olsen, who leads Carolina in catches with 21, missed practice with a foot injury. Rivera said it was just precautionary and he had no doubt that Olsen would play on Sunday at Minnesota.

Travelle Wharton is expected to start at left guard for Amini Silatolu, who suffered a season-ending torn ACL on Sunday. Silatolu hasn't been placed on injured reserve yet. Rivera said it's just a matter of time as the team continues to look for the right player to replace him in the lineup.