Ankle injuries caused Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart to miss seven games this season, which is the reason why he had his left ankle scoped on Friday.
Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports that Stewart believes having the arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle, which was severely sprained in November, will also help him avoid any further issues with his right ankle. An injury on that side in the preseason cost Stewart two of the first three games this season.
Stewart signed a five-year, $36.5 million contract extension in August and finished the season with 93 carries for 336 yards and a touchdown. It obviously wasn’t the return the Panthers were looking for in their investment in Stewart and the team is left to decide if they will make a change at running back heading into next season.
New General Manager David Gettleman will have to decide if he wants to keep both Stewart and DeAngelo Williams or if the team will move away from the expensive, double-barrelled backfield his predecessor Marty Hurney put in place. Whoever they hire at offensive coordinator will likely have a say in what happens at running back, although any decisions may have to be put on hold until Stewart proves he’s fit after the operation.