Yes, Panthers defensive end Jared Allen broke a small bone in his foot last Sunday, and coach Ron Rivera has already declared him doubtful at best for this week’s NFC Championship Game.
And while he didn’t practice yesterday, he was still holding out hope his season wasn’t over.
“He’s trying to do everything he can to get ready,” Rivera said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “But I don’t want him coming in thinking he’s going to play no matter what. At the same time, I’ve got a group of guys I’ve got to get ready to play with or without him. I don’t want to give any false indications either way because I want these guys focused in on preparing for themselves.”
But this is a guy who’s missed just three games due to injury in his career, so it’s not surprising Allen’s battling to play with just one win standing in the way of his first trip to the Super Bowl.
The 33-year-old Allen has only missed three games because of injury in his career, but with him being a longshot, the Panthers have to get their other options ready. Kony Ealy will likely start if he can’t, with Mario Addison picking up more snaps. They could also promote Wes Horton from the practice squad, or give more snaps to Ryan Delaire (who had two sacks in Allen’s first game with the Panthers).
But Rivera doesn’t want to get stuck if Allen talks him into something.
“The worst thing you want to do is put a guy out there and all of a sudden on the very first play he gets hurt again,” Rivera said. “Now you’re down to three rush ends. Now what do you do? So I have got to be convinced. I’ve got to be for sure. At the same time, I know he’s trying to get back and get himself ready to go.
“There’s a lot of things to take into consideration. It’s not just, ‘Oh, I feel good. It’s about the whole 60 minutes you’ve got to play, not that first minute on the field and all of a sudden something crazy happens.”
For all he’s done, Allen’s never played in a Super Bowl, so the temptation for him to play is clear.