It didn’t look good when Panthers defensive end Frank Alexander hobbled off the field without putting weight on his right leg.
When doctors got a look at it, it was even worse.
According to Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review, Alexander suffered a torn Achilles on the fourth play from scrimmage, will have surgery Tuesday, and obviously he is done for the year.
That leaves the Panthers extremely thin at defensive end, and they weren’t particularly well-stocked there entering the season.
Other than mainstay Charles Johnson, the Panthers have a platoon of situational players including Kony Ealy, Mario Addison and Wes Horton to try to cobble together a pass rush. That might not be as much of a concern if defensive tackles Star Lotulelei (foot) and Kawann Short (back) weren’t nursing injuries, creating plenty of uncertainty up front for a team that needs to count on that group.
Also, center Ryan Kalil left the game last night with a knee sprain. It might not be severe, since coach Ron Rivera wasn’t aware of it post-game. You’d think if his star center were really hurt, someone would have mentioned it to him.
But on a team that has already lost starting wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin for the year with a torn ACL, the injuries are chipping away at the optimism for a team that’s coming off back-to-back division titles.