Carolina Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson’s injury is really a thorn in his heel.
Well, it’s actually plantar faciitis, but it’s just as much of an annoyance to Thompson, who has been dealing with it since he was in college at the University of Washington, but recently experienced a flare-up severe enough to render him inactive against Minnesota last week.
“Yeah, I’ve been dealing with it for awhile,” Thompson said Wednesday. “Finally it just took a toll on me.”
He also joked that nobody really knows how to fix plantar faciitis, an inflammation of the band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes, so all he can do is get treatment and rest his foot.
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“It helped definitely to get some rest. It (stunk) not being out there with my brothers, but they handled business,” Thompson said. “I loved the way they played defense, offense and special teams and if we keep doing that it’s going to be hard to beat.”
Wednesday was the first day Thompson has been on the practice field in a week, but he was still limited and worked on the side with trainers. He said he isn’t even sure if he’ll get practice repetitions this week what with the unpredictable nature of the injury.
Thompson plays linebacker but is also the team’s “buffalo” or “big nickel,” used to cover mismatches in the passing game and defend the run.
Carolina calls this package “Husky,” after the Washington mascot, but before Thompson arrived in Charlotte, they called it “Frog” and used safety and former TCU standout Colin Jones in the big nickel package.
The Panthers dusted this off in rotation with base nickel Captain Munnerlyn on Sunday against the Vikings. In fact, Jones, a special teams standout, started the game in the “Frog” package.
“It hibernated for a little bit,” Jones joked on Wednesday. “But it stayed in the depths of the playbook.”
Jones played only 12 defensive snaps on Sunday but had two tackles. Munnerlyn played a season-high 58 snaps in the base nickel, including a crucial pass breakup against Stefon Diggs.
With Thompson’s status unknown for Sunday’s game against Green Bay, Carolina might lean on “Frog” to mix up its looks a little more against savvy quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“Colin man, he’s an explosive player. He’s good in the run game, he’s definitely good in Cover 2, but he doesn’t mind hitting you,” Munnerlyn said. “Colin, he’s very physical and he’s very fast. So it’s a good package for us, too. It’s different, a different matchup.”