Carolina Panthers starting linebacker Chase Blackburn came into the game listed questionable on the team’s injury report with a foot injury, and his status for today’s big game against the San Francisco 49ers was totally up in the air. Blackburn was thus a game-time decision, and he managed to be active for today’s game. However, Blackburn left the game with a foot injury in what appears to be a setback for the 30-year-old veteran, and Blackburn is questionable to return to today’s game.
According to Panthers official site beat writer Bryan Strickland, Blackburn was only playing on special teams for the Panthers anyway before being knocked out of the game with a foot injury. I doubt he returns to play, because rookie linebacker A.J. Klein has plenty of promise, seems to have the favor of the coaching staff, and the Iowa State product is most likely an upgrade over an injured Blackburn. Since he likely aggravated the prior injury and the Panthers were already cautious enough with him, there is even less of a reason for the Panthers to bring Blackburn back into the game.
The Panthers are currently down 9-7 against the 49ers, but Klein has looked like a beast. He was a stud at ISU and was one of the draft’s biggest sleepers this year. He could very well keep a stranglehold on the starting gig throughout the season, because he already has four tackles, a sack, and two total tackles for loss today. It’s been a great game for Klein thus far, whereas Blackburn left the game before accumulating any stats.