Running back Tyler Gaffney’s rookie season is over before it ever started.
Gaffney, the Carolina Panthers’ sixth-round pick from Stanford, will undergo season-ending surgery on his left knee after injuring his knee on the first play of Friday’s Fan Fest.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Gaffney’s surgery would be within the next week.
“It’s disappointing because the young man’s a solid football player,” Rivera said Saturday. “He’s had a history of being a workhorse, and unfortunately in practice (Friday) he got his knee in a bad position and something popped.”
Rivera said Gaffney was injured carrying the ball on a sweep Friday. Gaffney, who played a season of minor-league baseball, said he’s not had any previous knee issues.
“I was running outside zone, I made a couple of cuts, got upfield, made one last cut and it kind of felt a little bit uneasy,” Gaffney said. “I’ve never had a knee problem in my life, so I knew something was probably wrong.”
With Gaffney out and Jonathan Stewart sidelined indefinitely, Rivera said the Panthers plan to sign a running back.
Gaffney played in 49 games at Stanford and finished with 2,500 rushing yards. He ran for 21 rushing touchdowns as a senior, which led the Pac-12 and was fifth nationally.
• Quarterback Cam Newton still does not have his timing down with his receivers. Early during Saturday's practice, he led Jason Avant too far on a crossing pattern and the pass fell incomplete.
• Remember all the offseason talk about Marvin McNutt when the Panthers turned over their receiving corps? He had a rough night Saturday with multiple drops, this on the heels of a pedestrian showing at OTAs and minicamp.
• Kenjon Barner, undrafted rookie Philly Brown and cornerback Antoine Cason took turns fielding punts. Cason and Brown both had a drop. Brown was the Big Ten’s top punt returner as a junior at Ohio State, but had a critical fumbled punt in the second half of the Buckeyes’ loss to Clemson in this year’s Orange Bowl.
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First day in full pads; practice scheduled to start at 3:10 p.m.