In the waning moments of the Panthers’ big blowout win over the Bucs, they may have also suffered a pretty sizable loss. With little time left, Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson was carted off the field with a groin injury. Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer reports head coach Ron Rivera addressed the injury to Johnson in the postgame.
UPDATE: The Panthers appear to have dodged a bullet with Johnson. Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer reports Johnson’s MRI came back negative.
Rivera: So far positive news on Charles Johnson. MRI negative.
— Joe Person (@josephperson) October 25, 2013
Johnson could still miss time but not nearly as much as was first feared when he was carted off Thursday night.
Johnson has been a pivotal part of the the Panthers’ defensive attack, namely the pass rush. He had two sacks on the night and has now tallied six on the year to lead the Panthers.
The cart is never a welcome sign and a groin injury can cost significant time, as Jay Cutler will attest to right now. This could really have a lasting impact on a defense that has played well throughout the young season, and especially as the season gets tougher. Carolina’s next three are Atlanta, San Francisco and New England. Second year defensive end Frank Alexander will likely take the spot if Johnson misses time.