Dan Morgan had his concussions. Now Thomas Davis has his right knee.
Thomas Davis’s injury could hardly have come at a worse time, both for the Carolina Panthers’ sake and financially for Davis. I bet this injury will cost him at least $5-10 million on his bottom line – the guaranteed money he will get on his next contract, whenever that comes.
Davis confirmed Wednesday that he had a torn anterior cruciate ligament – his second ACL tear in seven months, and in the same knee he injured last November. This ACL will likely keep him out for the season – the rehab for an ACL generally takes 6-9 months and sometimes longer.
The strength of the Panthers’ 2010 defense was supposed to be Davis and middle linebacker Jon Beason, who as a pair may form the fastest linebacker tandem in the NFL. At their best, they fly from sideline to sideline like raptors, making one eye-popping play after another. Without Julius Peppers causing (occasional) havoc as a pass rusher, they were going to be even more important in 2010.
And now… this. Davis had run a 4.47 40-yard dash – close to his best – only recently. He was tickled with the rehab from his first ACL. But he tore this one without being touched, while back-pedaling, just like the first time. And to have two ACL tears – that doesn’t mean you can’t play pro football, certainly, but it does mean you’ll be viewed as damaged goods. I hope this isn't the beginning of the end for Davis, 27, like the concussions turned out to be for Morgan.
I thought Davis was playing at a Pro Bowl level last November. But he blew out the ACL Nov.8 at New Orleans (he missed nine of 16 games overall in 2009 -- 8 due to the knee, 1 due to a hamstring injury), and now here comes another ACL. He’ll still make $3.268 million this season and he’ll still be an unrestricted free agent after the 2010 season, but now his market value will be far lower.
I feel really bad for Davis. I hate when guys who respect the game get hurt.
I remember watching Davis once in practice when Beason had to run extra sprints for a minor transgression. Davis, just to be a good teammate, ran right alongside him, and it was marvelous to watch – two of the Panthers’ best athletes flying along like 240-pound Usain Bolts.
When Davis was the Panthers’ No.1 draft pick in 2005, I still remember what he said his goal as a defensive player was: “Get to the ball with bad intentions.”
It's an admirable philosophy for a heck of a linebacker – and one Davis is going to have to wait a very long time to act upon again.