Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin received a scare to his surgically repaired left knee in the first half of Sunday’s loss to New Orleans.
Benjamin, who missed the 2015 season after tearing his left ACL during training camp, was injured on the final play of the first quarter when his leg bent back awkwardly when he was tackled following a 4-yard completion.
Benjamin sat on a trainers table for most of the first half before going to the locker room. He did not return to the game.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Benjamin likely will be examined again Monday by team doctors, although a team source said the early signs were encouraging that Benjamin had not re-torn the ACL.
“That’s the knee that’s been repaired. He took a pretty good shot, the guy rolled up on the back of it,” Rivera said. “I guess the doctors will have to examine it (Monday). That’s about as much as I know.”
Benjamin was not available to the media after the game.
The Panthers already have been playing without a pair of Pro Bowlers on offense – center Ryan Kalil and tight end Greg Olsen. Kalil missed his second consecutive game with a neck issue Sunday, while Olsen is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks after breaking his foot against Buffalo in Week 2.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said he didn’t know the extent of Benjamin’s injury, but was hoping for the best.
Veteran linebacker Thomas Davis left the game in the second half with a rib injury, but came back in the game after a brief trip to the locker room.
Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly was upset with the officials for not stopping the clock after the injury to Davis, who was on a knee and had to call timeout to leave the game.
“I’m just glad he was able to come back out and finish the game,” Kuechly said. “It’s Thomas and no matter what’s wrong with him, if he can be out there he’s going to be out there.”