Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith (89) catches the ball as New Orleans Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis (28) defends in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Smith has PCL sprain

Carolina Panthers star wide receiver Steve Smith needed to undergo an MRI today after suffering a left knee injury early in yesterday’s 17-13 win over the rival New Orleans Saints, and my immediate reaction was that Smith suffered a PCL sprain on the play. It’s the same injury that James Jones suffered in Week 6, and it varies in degree. Panthers head coach Ron Rivera announced today that Smith’s injury is indeed a PCL sprain, and he stated that Smith’s status for next week’s game against the Atlanta Falcons is very doubtful.

It sounds like Smith would be back in time for a potential divisional round game, so the Panthers will have to hope that they can secure a bye week. A date with the Falcons horrid offensive line and defense should do just the trick, and the Panthers win over the Saints yesterday looks even more important with Smith’s injury in mind.

Losing Smith for a prolonged period of time would have been a crippling blow, since No. 1 receivers have an incredibly huge impact on the effectiveness of a quarterback and the offense as a whole. I mean, just look at the San Francisco 49ers offense without Michael Crabtree or the Indianapolis Colts drop in offensive efficiency after Reggie Wayne tore his ACL.

Smith has 64 receptions for 745 yards and four touchdowns, but his ability to free up other players to make plays is where he has his greatest impact. In the Panthers “spread the ball around” passing attack, the stats of the No. 1 receiver aren’t as important as the trickle-down impact.

Tags: Carolina Panthers Injury Report Steve Smith

  • ahrcshaw

    Any time a team looses a major player it creates hardships on the rest of the team, I would definitely prefer Smiths return. However, I do not thing his absence would as detrimental as some may think since Cam has become so accustomed to Olsen and the others. What Smith has done more then anything else this year is become a decoy, usually occupying the best defender on the opposing team. By no means do I mean Smith is not needed as he is, but at the same time I think the others would step up. The WR’s and DB’ks are the no name players on the Panthers who have excelled. Smith is not a no name. Go Panthers and pound those Falcons.

    • Joe Soriano

      Everything about this Panthers team screams “resiliency”, and I’ve always been impressed by the way they overcame all those injuries to the secondary early in the season. Those not familiar with the team probably don’t remember, but it seemed like the Panthers were in serious trouble when Godfrey was lost for the year. Not so, of course, and it’s been impressive watching guys like Robert Lester and Melvin White step up, and White’s play has been especially important.

      If Smith is out, then this team has what it takes to get by. But the question is, will they be able to without their top WR? As you said, Smith is more of a decoy in the Panthers offense, but decoys are important in freeing everyone else up. I think LaFell is the guy who needs to step up in his absence, because we know Olsen is going to be solid and Ginn Jr. will be a spark. What the Panthers need is more consistency from LaFell if they have to play without Smitty.

      • ahrcshaw

        I think it is going to be hard on Atlanta decide which WR to blanket, it more then likely will be LaFell. However if Ginn replaces Smith keeping LaFell in the # 2 spot Nixion plays in the slot and I do not think that is the best lineup. Nixion and LaFell are better at wide with Ginn in the slot which would let both Ginn and Olsen go up the middle and break out and Nixion and LaFell going down and in. Oh well, I have faith in Ricky Prohel, it will be his decision, the question then is who replaces who.

        On the other side of the coin, if TE Hartsack is able to play I believe they will power run more using Cam under center with play options.

        I like you statement about “resiliency”, no question the Coaching staff has done well and the players selected have stepped up to the plate. This game against the Falcon will be far from a shoe in. If Cam steps it up to one of his 120 QB ratings with a 70+ reception rate I would be very happy because my heart can not take too many more last minute wins. Go Panthers and pound those Falcons.