The Carolina Panthers got the worst-case scenario news which they feared Monday, when tests revealed linebacker Thomas Davis suffered a torn right anterior cruciate ligament in Sunday’s loss at New Orleans.
Davis will go on injured reserve soon, and a player will be added to the roster.
It takes away the Panthers most explosive playmaker on defense, in the midst of a career season.
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The 2005 first-round pick had finally adjusted to being a linebacker after an early trial as a safety, and flourished when they moved him to the weakside last year. Playing that spot in the Tampa-2 based scheme of Ron Meeks made him that much more dangerous, and he already had two sacks and an interception.
“He’s played very well,” Panthers coach John Fox said Monday, prior to the diagnosis. “I feel bad for the young man because he’s put a lot into it. He was playing at a high level. It’s unfortunate, and I feel bad for him and his family. On that particular play where he went down, they were able to get out of the end zone. It was unfortunate that he got hurt and it was unfortunate he got hurt in the middle of that play.
“But he’s a tough guy, a tough-minded guy, and whatever the extent of the injury is I know he’ll deal with it in the right manner.”
In the short term, the Panthers will likely go with Landon Johnson in his spot. A versatile player signed as a free agent last season from Cincinnati, Johnson lacks the kind of burst Davis brought to the position, but he’s been a steady player in his career, three times leading the Bengals in tackles.