Less than 10 hours after the Panthers clinched a trip to Super Bowl 50, linebacker Thomas Davis was getting surgery to repair his broken right arm so he could play with his team there.
The 11-year veteran had surgery Monday morning to his arm after breaking it in the second quarter of Sunday night’s 49-15 win against the Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said if all goes well, Davis should be able to play against Denver.
“He’s in recovery, doing well, doctors feel real comfortable about it,” said Rivera, joking that he was getting his information from Davis’ wife Kelly. “And we’ll see once he gets back here tomorrow and trainers get a chance to look at him. We’ll see how he is Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.”
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Having the surgery Monday morning will maximize Davis’ chances of playing against the Broncos in Super Bowl 50. Davis has never before played in a Super Bowl.
The injury occurred when Davis attempted to tackle Arizona tight end Darren Fells. Davis said after the game he knew something was wrong immediately, and he did not play the rest of the game.
Rivera didn’t know the extent of the injury, but David Chao, a former team doctor with the Chargers, noted on National Football Post that it’s likely a fractured ulna.
This injury calls for a stabilizing surgery that involves a plate and screws, Chao writes. He said two players he worked with who had similar injuries came back to play in two weeks. If he plays, Davis will likely wear a heavy brace on his right arm.
Davis is believed to be the first professional football player to return from three ACL reconstructive surgeries. He made the Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams for the first time in his career this season.
“I’ll be back. I’ll be ready to go. I can guarantee that,” said Davis in such a way that it’s difficult not to believe him. “I’m not missing the Super Bowl.”
Rivera said he didn’t doubt it Sunday night when Davis told his coach he’d be ready for the Super Bowl.
“He said it with the same type of sincerity as when he said to me when he was coming off his third ACL,” Rivera said. “There is something about his conviction and I think that’s what makes him who he is today. I have no doubt that as long as everything continues to heal the way it’s supposed to, he’ll be out there.”