Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas
By FOX SPORTS CAROLINAS STAFF  |  Last updated 11/19/13
The Carolina Panthers received a piece of good news on Tuesday just one night removed from a signature victory for the franchise when it was revealed that defensive end Charles Johnson only incurred a sprained MCL against New England. Before a nationally televised crowd on Monday, Johnson was leg-whipped by Patriots right tackle Marcus Cannon and immediately went down to the ground, writhing in pain. At first blush, Johnson's injury appeared to be serious, perhaps season-ending. But after submitting to an MRI on Tuesday, club officials were happy to report that Johnson could possibly return to the Panthers' starting lineup in the next week or two. If the NFC playoffs started today, the 7-3 Panthers would hold the No. 5 seed serving as the top wild-card entrant. However, Carolina only trails 8-2 New Orleans by a single game ... with the two NFC South rivals set for two head-to-head encounters on Weeks 14 (@ Saints) and 16 (@ Panthers). For this rebound campaign, the Panthers winners of six straight games, just one short of the franchise record have remained above the fray, regarding injuries to star players. And with Johnson (8.5 sacks) being a reasonable bet for both Panthers-Saints clashes in December, the stars are seemingly aligned for Carolina to have its full complement of playmakers for the stretch run.
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