Report: Panthers fear Curtis Samuel could miss significant time

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Part of the Panthers justification for trading Kelvin Benjamin was the need to get rookie Curtis Samuel on the field more, so his speed could unclog the middle of the field.

Now, they might have to do without both of them.

According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, the Panthers fear Samuel suffered a high ankle sprain or perhaps worse, which could threaten his ability to play much of a role the rest of the regular season. The second-round pick had X-rays last night (negative, per the team’s official website), and will doubtless have more tests today to determine the severity.

A Dolphins defensive back fell across his left ankle as he was dropping a touchdown pass, and he left on crutches last night. He had a right ankle issue in practice last week.

Asked about possibly losing Samuel, quarterback Cam Newton replied: “It’s bad. It’s real bad. A person that was on the cusp, it felt like.

“For him to step up and make crucial catches for us and to get the momentum going, it’s big,” Newton said. “I’m staying optimistic about this whole thing, that everything will work out and we’ll still see him sometime this year.”

The Panthers have a similarly fast wideout in Damiere Byrd who could come off injured reserve (broken forearm) and play as soon as Dec. 3 against the Saints. Otherwise, they’re down to Devin Funchess, Russell Shepard, Kaelin Clay, and Brenton Bersin.