Panthers Give Brutal Injury Update On Shaq Thompson

Shaq Thompson, Panthers
NFL Analysis Network

Monday Night Football was not kind to the Carolina Panthers. Not only did they lose the game 20-17 to the New Orleans Saints to drop their record to 0-2, but yet another key player on their defense was lost to a significant injury.

Linebacker Shaq Thompson suffered a lower-body injury when Saints’ offensive lineman Trevor Penning was slung to the ground by Panthers’ defensive lineman DeShawn Williams. Penning landed on the back of Thompson, who immediately went to the ground.

The cart was brought out for him, which is never a good sign. The injury was a significant one, as the team feared, as Thompson broke his left fibula. Panthers head coach Frank Reich confirmed the news and said that he underwent surgery on Tuesday. Thompson will likely be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

“It’s hard to put that into words,” Reich said when asked what he’ll miss most about not having his veteran leader. “We talk about a brotherhood — he is just a close brother. This is a warrior. This is a guy who knows how to practice, he knows how to play, he’s a team-first player.

“I was texting him last night. He’s talking about ways he can get back before he gets all the news [about needing surgery], trying to figure out a way he’s going to help the team. These injuries hurt.”

Thompson led the Panthers in tackles last season with 135 and is an integral part of their game plan given his versatility and leadership on the field. He is the second key player on this defense to go down, as cornerback Jaycee Horn suffered a hamstring injury in Week 1 that will keep him sidelined for multiple weeks.

Overcoming two losses like that will not be easy. The Panthers already had enough issues to deal with offensively before two of their better players on the defensive side of the ball headed to the sideline with injuries.

Kamu Grugier-Hill replaced Thompson in the lineup on Monday night and could be first in line for the starting spot. Reich did praise his performance against the Saints, but the team is keeping their options open.

Reich and general manager Scott Fitterer have discussed plans on what they want to do to replace Thompson. They can elevate someone such as Grugier-Hill to become a starter or look for help from outside the organization. Everything is on the table as the Panthers consider their next step in replacing one of their leaders defensively.

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