Panthers’ Darnold, Gonzalez out multiple weeks with injuries
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Panthers backup quarterback Sam Darnold and kicker Zane Gonzalez were both carted off the field in the third quarter of Carolina’s preseason game Friday night against the Buffalo Bills.
Darnold suffered a sprained left ankle after Bills defensive tackle C.J. Brewer landed on him as the quarterback was releasing the ball. This is the second straight week the Panthers have lost a quarterback to an injury in a preseason game.
Last week rookie Matt Corral, the team’s third-round draft pick, suffered a season-ending injury when he tore a ligament in his foot in a 20-10 loss to the New England Patriots.
Darnold lost out on the team’s starting quarterback job earlier this week when Baker Mayfield was named the starter prior to the regular season.
Mayfield was acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Browns on July 6 and had been competing with Darnold throughout training camp and during the preseason.
Darnold suffered a high ankle sprain and head coach Matt Rhule said it is significant. The Panthers will consider placing him on the short-term injured-reserve list.
“He will be back, just a matter of how many weeks he’ll miss,” Rhule said.
Gonzalez, who arrived in Carolina last season and signed a two-year contract extension this offseason, suffered a “significant long-term injury”, according to Rhule on Saturday. He will likely be out for an extended period of time and the team will now have to look at kickers to add to the roster.
“There are some guys out there that are accomplished kickers,” Rhule said. “There’s five or six teams where we have to wait and see their rosters and there are some guys that are out there. Everything from probably working guys out to looking at who’s out there, we’re gonna have to attack it. Because, obviously, this is a major thing for us.”
The Panthers will host the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 11 to kick off the 2022 season.
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