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Carolina’s Sam Darnold Carted off in Preseason Finale

Sam Darnold preseason against Buffalo

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold left the team’s preseason finally after suffering an apparent left ankle injury on Friday night. The injury occurred while being pulled down awkwardly by the Buffalo Bills’ C.J. Brewer during the 3rd quarter.

“Rough left ankle injury for Panthers backup QB Sam Darnold,” said The 33rd Team’s Dr. Jess Flynn. “His foot was caught in the turf as he was tackled. He was carted off for X-rays and because he couldn’t bear any weight.”

The initial diagnosis of Darnold’s injury is believed to be a high ankle sprain, and Darnold is undergoing an MRI to determine the full extent of the injury, according to NFL Media.

“This news indicates initial X-rays were likely negative which is good news,” said Flynn. “Video showed a clear high ankle injury mechanism where the foot sticks in the turf and the leg rotates the opposite way. Treatment and recover will depend on degree of injury/instability.”

Darnold’s injury was one of three major ones to hit the Panthers in that third quarter against the Bills. Starting defensive tackle and former seventh overall pick Derrick Brown left first with an oblique injury. Moments after that, kicker Zane Gonzalez had to be carted off the field after suffering an injury while using the kicking net on the sideline, in anticipation of attempting an extra point.

Darnold was Carolina’s starter during the 2021 season. He had entered the offseason at the top of the team’s depth chart, but slid to a backup role when the Panthers announced trade acquisition Baker Mayfield as the team’s new starting QB. Darnold had entered the preseason game late in the second quarter, replacing Mayfield, who started and played all but the final two minutes of the first half.

Arnold’s injury leaves P.J. Walker and Mayfield as the only healthy quarterbacks on Carolina’s roster. Third-round draft pick Matt Corral was injured earlier in the preseason and will miss the 2022 season. Walker entered the game following Arnold’s injury.

Darnold went 4-7 in 11 starts for Carolina last season, his first with the team after beginning his career with the New York Jets. He threw for 2,527 yards and nine touchdowns, with 13 interceptions.

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