WR Steve Smith has bruised knee

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera figures there's only one way to slow down wide receiver Steve Smith -- hide his pads.

That's what the Panthers did, figuratively, to Smith on Wednesday by forcing the veteran receiver to sit out of practice one day after he bruised his left knee at practice.

Rivera says Smith is "getting better" and should return soon.

Smith, the elder statesman on the roster entering his 12th season, appeared fine as he walked along the sidelines flipping a ball in the air during practice.

Rivera says the Smith, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, "practices harder than most of the players on the roster" and that "sometimes the best thing to do is to take his pads and hide them on him."