The Carolina Panthers, for whatever reason, seem snake bit when it comes to injuries. They endured key injury after key injury under previous head coach John Fox and the trend continues under current head coach Ron Rivera.
The injury news worsened on Wednesday afternoon when the team announced that their Pro-Bowl center and Super Bowl guarantor Ryan Kalil had been placed on Injured Reserve. This decision due to what reports are calling a Lisfranc injury, also known as a torn ligament in the middle of the foot.
The injury apparently occurred during Carolina’s week five loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Kalil will have surgery next week, but the big story here is that Kalil’s 2012 season with the Panthers is over.
Of course Panthers’ haters will say this happened to Kalil because of an ad he took out in the Charlotte Observer in July guaranteeing a Super Bowl victory for the Panthers this season.
Though, the Panthers can’t worry about ads or guarantees, they must focus now more than ever on salvaging a once promising season, a season on paper that might have once appeared Super Bowl worthy.
The fact is that Carolina still has a long way to go this year and even longer way to go before any more predictions are made. This injury not only could cripple their offensive line, but the teams psyche as well.
First and foremost Carolina must find a viable replacement to snap the football to quarterback Cam Newton. It’s not like Newton doesn’t have enough to worry about, but this is a serious concern. Kalil is a Pro-Bowl center for a reason. He serves as a leader on the offensive line and surely has Newton’s trust.
Kalil can’t be replaced; his value is that high for a Panthers team that needs its leaders on the field. Rivera did tell the media today that right guard Geoff Hangartner will take over the role as center, until another option comes along.
The problem is that Carolina’s best option will be sidelined.
Robert Kester, Carolina Panthers Columnist. Contact @robertkester1.