The Carolina Panthers announced that quarterback Sam Darnold will miss several weeks with a fractured scapula, and the shoulder blade injury explains his poor performance against the New England Patriots that included three interceptions.
The Panthers lose Darnold just as they got their top offensive weapon, Christian McCaffrey, back in the lineup after a hamstring injury, which sidelined him for several weeks.
Backup QB PJ Walker will start in place of Darnold going forward. The Panthers also added journeyman backup QB Matt Barkley to their practice squad.
The Panthers suggested Darnold would miss several weeks, but similar shoulder blade fractures can take up to six months to heal.
Darnold joined the Panthers after the New York Jets traded him in the offseason. He looked great in the first three games of the season, leading the Panthers to a 3-0 record. Darnold rocketed to the top of the Comeback Player of the Year betting board, and even saw his MVP odds dramatically improve.
Since then, the rest of the league has caught up to Darnold and the Panthers, who are only 1-5 since their auspicious 3-0 start, with a close win against the Atlanta Falcons their only highlight since September.
In the last six games, Darnold tossed 10 interceptions and just four touchdowns. He was shut out in the last three games with zero touchdowns while coughing up four interceptions, including three against the Pats.
Football Doc: Darnold Hurt in Week 8?
Several medical experts think that Darnold suffered the shoulder blade injury in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons when he also got his bell rung trying to scramble for a touchdown.
“Scapula fracture no matter how small takes ‘car accident’ type forces,” tweeted Dr. David J. Chao, who used to be the team physician for the San Diego Chargers.
The Panthers indicated Darnold incurred the injury in a hit in the second quarter against the Patriots in Week 9.