Somebody check the calendar, is it still 2004? After a year ravaged from injuries, the Panthers have now lost two defensive starters to season ending knee injuries.
Panthers former all pro DT Kris Jenkins will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his right knee.
Jenkins left with what was described as a sprained knee during the initial drive of the game. He was taken to the locker room, and returned with a brace for one goal-line play in the second half and was injured further. It is unclear if the ACL was torn during the initial injury, or if it was torn during the play when he re-entered the game.
"That's really hard for the doctors to say, so I'm not even going to attempt at it," John Fox said at his Monday press conference. "Our medical people made calls, and the kid (Jenkins) felt comfortable doing it. If it was done the first time, I'm not sure if he could have re-injured it, if in fact it was done the first time. Our medical people felt that it was O.K. for him to go back, and I think Kris did, too. I think the idea is that it happened the first time."
After the first injury, team officials checked Jenkins on the sideline, taped it up, and Jenkins was jogging behind the bench in the grassy area. Stephen Davis came up to Jenkins as he sat on the table, tapped him on the shoulder as if to say, "You ok?". Jenkins nodded his head yes, and eventually came back into the game.
"I think Kris felt comfortable after they taped it up and tried to give it a go," Fox said, "and it didn't feel like it was going to be real good the second time around, so he came back out."
"I've seen guys play whole games with torn ACL's," Fox said after being asked if there was a way anything could have been done differently to prevent the tear. "They just don't realize it and they play. There's no way to know that that's the injury until you receive an MRI after the game. I don't think it's out of whack at all how it happened."
If you recall, Jenkins admitted having problems with alcohol and depression after hurting his shoulder and landing on the IR last season. The Panthers undoubtedly will make sure that doesn't happen again.
"We do have resources and we do anticipate helping him," Fox said. "It's a support group. I don't think there's a player ever who hasn't struggled with a season-ending injury emotionally. It's something these guys work very hard to do and not being a part of it is hard. I've not known too many of them who just eased through it. It's a lot of hard work physically and mentally."
Fox said he had spoken with Jenkins, and that he was in relatively good spirits.
As for replacing the former All-Pro, the Panthers will explore every option, including signing 3rd round pick Atiyyah Ellison off the practice squad and scouring the free agents available.