Panthers TE Greg Olsen 'way ahead of curve' in recovery from broken foot

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen doesn't have an exact timetable for his return from refracturing his right foot. But the three-time Pro Bowl selection is certain it will be sooner than last season, when he missed nine games.

"Yeah, I'm way ahead of the curve," Olsen said Monday night at his HEARTest Yard yoga fundraiser on the team practice fields behind Bank of America Stadium. "Last year at two weeks I was laying in my bed in a cast. I couldn't do anything.

"I'm way ahead of the curve from that standpoint. It's just a matter of seeing each week how your foot responds and just try to add a little more, a little more. What that time frame is, we're optimistic. Hopefully, it's sooner rather than later."

Olsen, 33, suffered the fracture in the first quarter of the opener against Dallas when he stepped on the foot of a defender while running a route. It was determined he would not have surgery as he did a year ago and would be evaluated on a monthly basis in terms of his return.

It will be almost a month on Oct. 7 when the Panthers (2-1) return from their bye to face the New York Giants.

"I'm doing good, feeling good," said Olsen, who from 2014-16 became the first tight end in NFL history to have three consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons. "Obviously, the bye week came at a good time to be able to get a good week of work without stressing out about missing a game potentially."

Olsen didn't take part in the yoga event at which about 500 people paid $25 each to participate. But he moved around without a walking boot and no sign of a limp as he talked to participants.

Olsen and his wife, Kara, began hosting such events with Levine Children's Hospital after one of their twins, T.J., was born with a congenital heart defect in 2012. While the time rehabbing the foot has given him more time to be involved with the fundraiser, he admittedly would "rather be playing" football.

Until Monday, he hadn't discussed the injury with media.

"It's frustrating," Olsen said. "I went eight months of never missing an OTA, minicamp, training camp, preseason, never missed a day, never was sore. Felt great. Had probably my best offseason from a production standpoint, a physical standpoint, in years.

"You step funny and catch a guy's foot ... it's frustrating."

There was no frustration on this night as Olsen looked at the event's backdrop, Bank of America Stadium.

"This is super cool," he said. "When we approached the team [about using the practice fields] they said, 'Of course.' The Panthers have been great to our family with of our community events. So to be able to use the facility here and kind of tie it all in together has made it all easier.

"A cool experience for a lot of people who otherwise never would have come to the practice fields."

Now Olsen can't wait to return to the practice facility fields for something other than rehab.

"I feel good about where we're at considering we're two weeks into this thing," Olsen said. "I'm just going to try to make the most of this season."