Carolina Panthers star wide receiver Steve Smith caught a well-executed 44-yard pass deep in the middle of the field during the Panthers opening drive against the New Orleans Saints yesterday, but he was unable to haul in a catch after that. On the Panthers next possession, Smith went down with a knee injury, and the first sign that something was up came when Smith wasn’t able to corral the pass in the first place. He expertly maneuvered between two Saints defenders, and the pass from Cam Newton was right on the money. However, Smith was unable to even make a play on the ball and was seen limping on his left knee. He grabbed the knee and later said that he felt it pull up lame and “pop” when trying to plant and jump.
Smith exited the field and went to the sideline, and he briefly re-entered the game before leaving the field in frustration. After Smith’s second exit, it was clear that something was up and that he would need to leave the game. I wondered if Smith suffered a PCL sprain, but I don’t think his injury is even that serious.
The Charlotte Observer’s Joe Person reported that Smith will undergo an MRI on his left knee today, and the results could have a huge impact on the rest of the Panthers season. The team is still in the running for a bye week in the playoffs after defeating the Saints 17-13 yesterday without Smith, and losing their No. 1 wide receiver for an extended period of time would be a devastating blow.