Carolina Panthers WR Curtis Samuel comes off reserve/COVID-19 list while DJ Moore stays on

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel was activated Friday from the reserve/COVID-19 list and will play Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

However, fellow wideout DJ Moore remains on the reserve list and is unlikely to be available for the 1 p.m. ET game between the 4-8 teams. Moore has not practiced all week since being one of eight players added to the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday.

Of those on the 53-man roster placed on the reserve list, only Moore and defensive tackle Zach Kerr remain on it. Samuel, outside linebacker Shaq Thompson and defensive tackle Derrick Moore were removed from the list Friday, and all are expected to play Sunday.

Defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos and offensive tackle Greg Little were removed from the list the past two days.

Coach Matt Rhule also reiterated what he said Thursday, that he doesn't expect running back Christian McCaffrey (quad) to play against the Broncos after missing his second straight practice. McCaffrey officially is listed as doubtful.

Rhule did not comment on Moore or Kerr because he does not discuss players on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Not having Moore and McCaffrey puts much of the receiving load on Robby Anderson, who leads the team with 75 catches for 912 yards, and Samuel, second among receivers with 54 catches.

Moore has 50 catches for a team-best 924 yards and four touchdowns. No other wide receiver on the active roster has more than four catches.

McCaffrey could have lessened the stress of not having Moore. Carolina's leader in receptions the past three seasons was on track to return from a shoulder injury before aggravating a quad injury Wednesday that he initially suffered last week while the team was on its bye.

He did not practice Thursday or Friday after being a limited participant Wednesday.

This will likely be the fourth straight game the 2019 Pro Bowl selection has missed and the 10th in 11 games. He missed six straight with a high ankle sprain and three with a shoulder injury.

McCaffrey was looking forward to facing a Broncos team he grew up watching his father play for from 1995 to 2003.

He said Monday it was "surreal" thinking about playing against the Broncos and that this game would bring his career "full circle." His father, former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, helped the Broncos win two Super Bowls.

Rhule doesn't expect McCaffrey's new injury to be season-ending, noting the running back will play when he is healthy.