CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Saints hope to benefit from the return of three players who haven't played since last month, while the Panthers welcome back quarterback Cam Newton and a ball carrier with a history of gouging New Orleans' defense.
Josh Hill, a tight end who has regularly filled key blocking and receiving roles during his three-plus-year career in New Orleans, is in uniform for the first time since injuring his ankle in the regular season opener.
Also back for the Saints are starting middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, who missed the Saints ` previous game at San Diego two weeks ago with quadriceps injury, and guard Senio Kelemete, a periodic starter who also missed New Orleans' previous game.
Newton, who missed Carolina's loss to Tampa Bay last week with concussion symptoms, returns at a time when the defending NFC champions desperately need a victory to climb out of last place in the NFC South and avoid falling to 1-5.
Also returning for the Panthers is running back Jonathan Stewart, who had one of the best games of his career in the Superdome in late 2014, rushing for 155 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown.
Newton hasn't spoken to reporters since suffering a concussion on Oct. 2 against the Falcons.
The Panthers are 1-4 and have lost three straight games.