The Carolina Panthers offensive line is their biggest concern going into the 2014 season, because they lost star left tackle Jordan Gross to retirement and could still lose key starting left guard Travelle Wharton to retirement, as well. Today, they’ve lost another member of their offensive line in Edmund Kugbila, as Panthers GM Dave Gettleman stated that the second-year pro will miss the entire season with a back injury.
Kugbila will undergo surgery on the eighth of August, and the former fourth-round pick out of Valdosta State will miss the second straight season with an injury after missing his entire rookie campaign with a knee injury. It’s a tough blow to the thinning depth of the Panthers offensive line, but it’s an even tougher blow for Kugbila, who won’t play a down of football until the third season of his career; it’s crushing news all-around.
Meanwhile, veteran running back Jonathan Stewart pulled his hamstring before training camp, and head coach Ron Rivera stated that Stewart will miss the first week or two of the regular season. It’s not a major injury by any means, but any injury is a concern with Stewart, who can never seem to get healthy after a strong 2011 campaign. Once one of the best backs in the NFL, the 27-year-old Oregon product is still in his prime years, but he’s been nicked and bruised so often that it’s hard to trust him anymore. This is a minor injury, but it isn’t a good sign either.