The Carolina Panthers may have lost a key defensive player before the end of the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints. Veteran linebacker Shaq Thompson suffered an injury and had to be carted off the field on Monday night.
Shaq Thompson Injury Update
Thompson got his right leg rolled up on after making a tackle on the Saints’ Taysom Hill.
Panthers defensive lineman DeShawn Williams flipped New Orleans left tackle Trevor Penning after the play ended, and Penning appeared to land directly on the back of Thompson’s leg.
Virtually the entire team came on the field before Shaq Thompson was carted off. pic.twitter.com/Rw7iC4YjIe
— Joe Person (@josephperson) September 18, 2023
Thompson looked to be in tremendous pain as he stayed down on the field. Most of the Panthers’ roster came onto the field when Thompson went down.
The 29-year-old was eventually carted off the field. Carolina initially announced Thompson was questionable to return with a shin injury. However, the club then ruled him out for the rest of the game and clarified he was dealing with an ankle injury.
After Monday’s game, Panthers head coach Frank Reich said Thompson suffered a “significant” ankle injury and will be sidelined for a while. NFL Network reported Thompson is likely to miss the rest of the season.
On Tuesday, Reich confirmed Thomspon underwent surgery for a fractured fibula and will be out for the rest of the 2023 campaign.
Panthers’ HC Frank Reich said LB Shaq Thompson underwent surgery for a fractured fibula and he now is expected to be out for the season.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 19, 2023
Thompson, a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, is the Panthers’ longest-tenured player. Monday night marked his 108th start and 119th appearance for Carolina.
Kamu Grugier-Hill replaced Thompson alongside fellow linebacker Frankie Luvu in the Panthers’ lineup. He only played special teams in Week 1, but Grugier-Hill made 14 starts for the Houston Texans as recently as 2021.
Behind its starting LBs, Carolina has Chandler Wooten and Claudin Cherelus available for depth. The Panthers also signed veteran Deion Jones — who was with the club during training camp — to their practice squad last week.
Thompson accepted a revised contract this offseason that dropped his average annual value from nearly $14 million to just $6.3 million. In exchange, he received $8.5 in guaranteed money.
“Just look at the linebacker market. Nobody was getting paid,” Thompson said in June. “So it was just weighing out, ‘Do I want to be here, or do I want to go somewhere else? Do I want to be with my brothers, who I went to war with, or do I want to go to a different team and meet new people?’
“And shoot, I’m a big loyal guy. So I stayed with my brothers.”