CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis doesn't view Sunday night's matchup against the New York Jets as just another meaningless preseason game.

Davis is expected to return to live action for the first time since tearing the ACL in his right knee last September - his third such significant injury. If he can make it back he'll become the first NFL player to return after tearing the same ACL three separate times.

Davis missed the first two preseason games with a strained calf, but coach Ron Rivera says he expects he'll play.

It will be a different role than what Davis is used to.

He's expected to be a spot role player for the Panthers (No. 20 in the AP Pro32), who drafted linebacker Luke Kuechly with the ninth overall pick.