Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers CB Charles Tillman set for surgery; future uncertain

Carolina Panthers cornerback Charles Tillman will have surgery on his right knee on Wednesday.
Carolina Panthers cornerback Charles Tillman will have surgery on his right knee on Wednesday. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Carolina Panthers cornerback Charles Tillman will undergo reconstructive surgery on his right knee Wednesday, but the 13-year veteran was noncommittal on his football future.

Tillman was placed on injured reserve last week after tearing his ACL in the regular-season finale against Tampa Bay.

Tillman, who turns 35 next month, has had his season cut short the past three years. He tore his triceps during each of his final two seasons with Chicago.

But if Tillman is leaning toward retiring, he didn’t share that Monday.

“I don’t think that far ahead. I think in the now,” he said. “And surgery and rehab, that’s my new opponent and I plan on being victorious like I have been in the past with former previous injuries.”

Tillman missed four games after partially tearing the ACL against Tennessee on Nov. 15. But returned against the Giants in Week 15 after his replacement Bene’ Benwikere broke his leg against Atlanta.

“I knew the potential risk of my ACL tearing completely. But I mean I’m in it to win it,” Tillman said. “I think this team has been the only thing really keeping me going. My spirits are high. I’m optimistic about my recovery, about the rest of this season, the postseason.”

Recently acquired Robert McClain replaced Tillman in the second half against the Bucs and will start Sunday against Seattle.

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