Carolina Panthers

Wrist injury sidelines Basanez for 2007 season

CHARLOTTE -- A week ago, Brett Basanez was trying to convince the Panthers to keep three quarterbacks.

That decision's made for them now, as Basanez will spend the year on injured reserve.

The second-year passer suffered extensive ligament damage in his right (throwing) wrist in Friday's preseason game against New England, and will be shelved for the season.

"I've just got to make the best of it," Basanez said. "There' not much you can do about it now but learn from it and try to make yourself better in other ways."

The Panthers are now down to three quarterbacks in camp: starter Jake Delhomme, backup David Carr and undrafted rookie Dalton Bell. Bell's likely to get extensive work in the preseason finale Thursday, as they're not expected to add another quarterback between now and then. The injury also makes it likely they'll carry just two quarterbacks into the regular season, as they did to begin last year before Basanez got a call-up from the practice squad when Delhomme was hurt.

"Everything's a possibility at this point," coach John Fox said of keeping just a pair. "You never like losing a quarterback, no matter what string, but Brett had made good progress. We kept him around last year, I thought he grew quite a bit and it's unfortunate. Now we've got Dalton Bell and we see where we go from there."

The 24-year-old Basanez was wearing a flexible brace on his wrist Sunday, and spent the morning working out on the side with the other injured players.

While there's natural skepticism about injuries this time of year, sources said Basanez's is legitimate, one which will likely require surgery and would have kept him out at least three months.

"Right now it's pretty badly sprained," Basanez said. "Not sure what we're going to do with it yet. Can't grip the ball, so they're going to keep me in a brace right now, and hope it heals up and keep learning.

"The biggest thing now, obviously you can't throw a football, you can't practice at quarterback. But I can learn from Jake and get the mental reps."

Basanez got plenty of those last year, as he came in as an undrafted rookie from Northwestern, and unseated holdover Stefan LeFors as the third-stringer. It wasn't enough to get him a job to start the year, but they kept him around, and his late addition to the roster had them thinking hard about keeping him on the active roster this year.

Upon signing his 2007 contract this offseason, Basanez moved here from Chicago with his fiancé, and spent the winter and spring devouring film of last year, as well as looks at New England and Cleveland's games to get a sense for new coordinator Jeff Davidson's system.

And even though his year was ending as he spoke to reporters (Fox came along and made the official announcement moments later), Basanez tried to stay upbeat.

"I don't want to let it hold me down," he said. "My fiancé is pretty upset by it, and I don't want to take that mentality now. I want to be positive. What's the worst that happens? I get to learn from a Pro Bowl quarterback and a first-rounder for a whole year.

"Whatever way you cut it, I'm going to try to make it a good situation, and just keep getting better without practicing."