Four days later, Wharton reacted for the first time and said he will have surgery in the coming weeks and then begin a rehab process with all hopes of returning for the 2013 season. The right guard who started 99 games for Carolina won't know the severity of the injury until the doctors cut him open.
The possibility of bouncing back hasn't made the reality of the situation any easier.
“It's devastating,” Wharton said. “There's some good people. They have welcomed me since the spring with open arms. Being a part of this family, this organization, going down before you even get started is disappointing to anyone. I wanted to come in here and fit into it and be ready to go to work. Unfortunately, this injury took place and now it is time for me to prepare for surgery and rehab and be ready.”
If it's at all similar to his ACL/MCL tear suffered to his other knee in the opener of the 2006 season, he'll be able to return next year. Wharton bounced back to play all 16 games the following season for the Panthers. The Bengals rehab staff successfully nursed Leon Hall back to the field ahead of schedule from an Achilles injury this season and Wharton has confidence he'll produce similar results.
Only, Wharton's not a 25-year-old as he was when the first knee injury occurred. The nine-year vet will be 32 in May. Any concerns about age beginning to creep in? Absolutely not.
“Just going to attack this surgery as if I was a 21- or 22-year-old,” Wharton said. “Age never crossed my mind. Football and my coming back never crossed my mind. I just want to be healthy and attack this thing going into this rehab and surgery with an open mind and get through it.”
Follow Paul Dehner Jr. for Bengals updates from training camp on Twitter at @CBSSportsNFLCIN.