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      Former Gamecock could be key to Panthers struggling O-line

      CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Travelle Wharton could go from late-summer acquisition to opening day starter for the Carolina Panthers.

      Panthers coach Ron Rivera says last year's starting left guard Amini Silatolu "more than likely" will miss the Sept. 8 regular season opener with a hamstring injury, opening an opportunity for Wharton to step in and start at his old position.

      The 32-year-old Wharton, who started 99 games for the Panthers from 2004-11, re-signed with his former team on Sunday after injuries left the offensive line depleted.

      Wharton was greeted by his teammates' collective chant of "Tra-Velle" as he stepped on the football field Monday for the first time in more than a year.

      Wharton says the practice went well and hopes to put last year's season-ending knee injury with Cincinnati behind him