Sam Darnold can’t catch a break when it comes to injuries. In the fourth quarter of the Carolina Panthers‘ final preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, Darnold was taken down on a tackle by Bills defensive tackle C.J. Brewer that kept him on the ground for several minutes.
Darnold eventually had to be carted off with an ankle injury. The Panthers said Darnold would not return.
After the game, head coach Matt Rhule said, “We believe it’s not fractured.”
Darnold will undergo an MRI on Saturday to determine the severity of the injury.
Per the Charlotte Observer, there is concern Darnold suffered a Grade III ankle sprain or has a dislocated ankle. According to Ian Rapoport, the initial evaluation shows that it is a high-ankle sprain.
If Darnold has a dislocated ankle, that could sideline him for the year.
Darnold lost the starting quarterback job to Baker Mayfield in Carolina and was set to be the No. 2 quarterback heading into the year. He completed 59.9% of his passes for 2,527 yards with nine touchdowns to 13 interceptions for a 71.9 passer rating last season, as the Panthers went 4-7 in his starts. He finished 31st in touchdown passes, 30th in completion percentage, 30th in yards per attempt (6.2) and 31st in passer rating.
While Darnold struggled throwing the football, he rushed for five touchdowns last season. Darnold showcased his mobility on the ground against the Bills on Friday night, rushing for a score as he finished 5 of 11 for 49 yards in relief of Mayfield.
Darnold suffered a concussion and a shoulder scapula fracture last season with the Panthers, causing him to miss six games. The year prior, Darnold missed four games with a shoulder sprain he reinjured. He’s missed 10 games over the past two seasons.