CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)Carolina Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson is expected to miss extended time after suffering what coach Frank Reich said was a “significant” right ankle injury in the team’s 20-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.
Reich said the Panthers will know more after Thompson undergoes medical tests on Tuesday. He wouldn’t say if the ankle might be broken.
The 29-year-old Thompson was carted off the field in the first quarter. Saints offensive lineman Trevor Penning and Panthers defensive lineman DeShawn Williams were engaged in a block and rolled up on the back of Thompson’s right leg as he was trying to make a tackle.
The Panthers initially announced Thompson was doubtful to return with a shin injury, but later updated that by saying he was out with an ankle injury.
Thompson, in his ninth season with the Panthers, is one of the team’s emotional leaders. Before he was helped onto the cart, the entire Panthers bench ran on the field to wish Thompson well.
The second-longest tenured player on Carolina’s roster, Thompson had a career-high 135 tackles last season. He became only the fifth player in franchise history to amass at least 100 tackles in four consecutive seasons.
For the Saints, running running back Jamaal Williams suffered a hamstring injury in the second quarter and did not return. New Orleans was already playing without the suspended Alvin Kamara and injured rookie Kendre Miller.
Tony Jones Jr. rushed for 34 yards and two touchdowns in Williams’ absence. Change-of-pace quarterback Taysom Hill was the Saints’ leading rusher 75 yards on nine carries.
It’s unclear when Williams was hurt. He finished with 29 yards on nine carries.
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