Carolina Panthers

Delhomme says surgery is last resort

CHARLOTTE -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme admitted Monday that surgery on his right elbow was a possibility down the road, but referred to it as "a last-resort type of deal."

He still hasn't thrown since the injury, which happened last week in Atlanta when a Falcons defender tried to pull the ball out in a pile. He took a few snaps last week since he dressed as the inactive third quarterback, but he's not pushing things.

Still, the possibility of surgery exists if his rehabilitation doesn't progress -- a fact first reported in The Herald last Saturday, before the story grew legs with a mention on the Fox network pregame show.

"We're going to give it time," Delhomme said when asked when he'd know for sure how they'd treat his elbow. "We haven't set a concrete date yet. Certainly, I know we have an open date coming up. For myself, I want to know soon. I know my body pretty well and I have a good idea, but we'll see. I have to trust (trainer) Ryan (Vermillion) and them. They've been very upfront with me. We're doing everything we can and it feels pretty good. We'll see. ...

"I've had a bunch of phone calls saying something about a surgery. Maybe that could happen down the line. I don't know, and that's the God's honest truth. We don't know yet. To say it's a possibility, yes it's possible. But it's not in my mind right now. That's where we're at."

Delhomme said he hasn't set a time frame to make a decision, but planned to delay such a call as long as possible. "If I don't have to have it now, I won't have to do have it after the season," he said.

When asked if he'd throw this week, he said: "I'm hoping, but we don't know. We'll play it by ear."

Of his chance to play against New Orleans, he pointed to a stack of tapes in his locker: "I hope. See those tapes sitting in my locker? They're going to be looked at. We'll see."

• NOT FUNNY: Middle linebacker Dan Morgan walked though the locker room wearing a cast and a walking boot on his right foot. He said he suffered a partial tear of his Achilles tendon against Atlanta, and he'd know more about his condition later this week when the cast comes off.

When asked if he'd be able to jump in quickly and return to the field, he replied: "Probably not, right away. Obviously, depending on how it feels. If I get out of it and it feels good, anything is possible."

After missing Sunday's game, Morgan has missed 41 games in his seven years here (of a possible 100), but he's never had an Achilles problem. He's endured concussions, a broken ankle and most things in between, but never an Achilles.

"I've been through a lot of injuries and it almost gets to the point where it's laughable, almost," Morgan said. "I take it for what it is. I'll be back."

• PEPPERS HEALTHY?: Team officials continue to insist that the problem with defensive end Julius Peppers isn't a health issue.

During the first quarter of Sunday's game, Peppers came back to the sidelines motioning toward his chest, at which point team internist Dr. Robert Heyer was seen checking Peppers' pulse. Later, Peppers sat on the bench using an inhaler.

When asked about that incident, coach John Fox said he thought Peppers was fine.

"I'm sure he probably was a little tired," Fox said. "I don't know about that, I didn't hear about that from our trainers. I don't think there was a heart condition or anything. I think he might have been winded."

• ANOTHER GOOD CALL: The fourth quarter of Sunday's game wasn't half over, but Charlotte Bobcats executive vice president of basketball operations Michael Jordan had seen enough.

There were seven minutes and 50 seconds left in the game when Jordan and his sizable entourage headed down the media elevator, having given up their seats in a private box.

As decisions go, that might have been better than trading a draft pick for scoring wing Jason Richardson this summer.

• EXTRA POINTS: Fox said the Panthers' problems against Tampa Bay were more about execution than effort, saying that several times in his Monday press conference.

"We just didn't execute early," Fox said. "After the sixth round in a prize fight sometimes it's too late." ...

He also said that DeAngelo Williams and rookie Ryne Robinson remained options for kickoff returns, since they don't have any updates on fullback Nick Goings (concussion).

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