Carolina Panthers star defensive end Charles Johnson exited last night’s win over the New England Patriots in the third quarter with a right knee injury, after being leg-whipped by Patriots right tackle Marcus Cannon. It was an ugly play, and although it wasn’t as key of a call (or, non-call) as the pass interference at the end of the game, it was a surprise to see that the refs did not dock the Patriots with a personal foul penalty. Johnson clearly beat Cannon with ease on that play, but Cannon decided to pull a cheap move and leg-whip Johnson, who unfortunately injured his knee on the play. Cannon should fully expected to receive a fine from the league for that play, but I guess he’s cool with the fact that Tom Brady didn’t get sacked (or hit) and that he didn’t receive a penalty.
Anyway, Charles Johnson tweeted out this morning that he is headed for an MRI on his right knee today, and we can only hope that Johnson avoided a significant injury. He’s one of the best pass rushers in the NFL and does as good of a job as anyone at consistently putting pressure on the quarterback. The Panthers take advantage of the fact that most teams put their best pass protector at left tackle, since Johnson lines up against the right tackle. Greg Hardy is definitely a great player opposite of Johnson, but Johnson definitely makes his own butter and has 8.5 sacks on the season to prove it.
I would be surprised to hear any significantly bad news regarding Johnson’s knee injury, because he was able to return to the game later on. Let’s hope the MRI confirms the early indications and that Johnson doesn’t receive any bad news, because he is a critical part of this Panthers top-flight defense.