When Curtis Samuel exited Monday night’s game, the Panthers were hopeful that he had only suffered a high ankle sprain. Unfortunately, doctors gave the wide receiver some bad news on Tuesday afternoon. He has significant ligament damage in his ankle and will have to be shut down for the season as a result, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
Samuel dropped a would-be touchdown pass in the third quarter and injury was added to insult when a Dolphins defensive back rolled on his foot. The second-round rookie’s season ends with 15 catches (26 targets) for 115 yards plus four carries for 64 yards.
The Panthers could fill the void from within, as suggested by Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. Second-year pro Damiere Byrd is eligible to return from injured reserve soon and could theoretically suit up in time for the Panthers’ Dec. 3 game against the Saints.
For now, the Panthers are left with four healthy WRs: Devin Funchess, Russell Shepard, Kaelin Clay, and Brenton Bersin. The group was thinned out by October’s Kelvin Benjamin trade and it’s looking even weaker following Samuel’s injury.
The Panthers are 7-3 after topping the Dolphins on Monday night. The Saints, riding a seven-game winning streak, sit atop the NFC South with a 7-2 record.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.