Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold avoided a season-ending injury on Friday night, but he’s set to miss a chunk of time after hurting his ankle.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Darnold is expected to miss four-to-six weeks after suffering a high-ankle sprain against the Bills. He will get a second opinion before embarking on his road back to action.
There were fears of a more severe injury when Darnold had to be carted off the field, but both the initial diagnosis and Saturday’s MRI were more positive. The injury will still force the Panthers to shift plans at the quarterback spot.
With rookie Matt Corral out for the year with a Lisfranc injury, the Panthers were expected to keep Darnold as the only backup to Baker Mayfield. The timeline for his recovery points to a stint on injured reserve to kick off the year and that will likely give P.J. Walker a chance to stick around. Darnold will have to be on the initial 53-man roster in order to be eligible to return, so that will force the team to cut a player they may have been planning to keep going into Friday night.