Samuel's season came to a close in the Panthers' last game Week 10, when he tore ligaments in his left ankle. That said, he wasn't immediately placed on IR because the obvious corresponding move, activating Greg Olsen (foot) from the list, couldn't be confirmed until he completed this week of practice. With Olsen's health approved, the team swapped the skill-position players Friday. Consequently, Samuel ends his rookie campaign with 15 receptions (on 26 targets) for 115 yards, four rushes for 64 yards and 22.1 yards per on his 10 kickoff returns.
Samuel (ankle) had surgery and will be placed on injured reserve, David Newton of ESPN.com reports.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said the surgery went well, but he also admitted that Samuel is facing a lengthy rehabilitation process. The second-round pick was hampered by some minor injuries even before he tore ankle ligaments, mostly working in a part-time role and ultimately finishing his rookie season with only 15 catches for 115 yards on 26 targets and four carries for 64 yards in nine games. While this obviously isn't the start he expected, Samuel doesn't turn 22 until August and should at least have a shot to be ready for the start of training camp next year.
Samuel will miss the rest of the season after tearing ligaments in his left ankle Monday against the Dolphins, David Newton reports.
An MRI on Tuesday confirmed as much, leaving Samuel with 15 catches (on 26 targets) for 115 yards and four rushes for 64 yards in nine games as a rookie. The Panthers shipped out Kelvin Benjamin before last month's trade deadline, so the receiving corps is pretty bare behind No. 1 wideout Devin Funchess. Among them, Russell Shepard is the best bet for regular targets, but Kaelin Clay and Brenton Bersin can expect an uptick in offensive usage.
Samuel (ankle) will be shut down for the remainder of the season, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports.
This is tough news to swallow for the Panthers, as without Samuel they'll be facing serious depth issues at the wide receiver position. Devin Funchess is the clear-cut No. 1 option in Carolina's passing attack, and it's unclear who will emerge as the second option in Samuel's absence. As of Tuesday, Russell Shepard, Kaelin Clay and Brenton Bersin are the only healthy options on the Panthers' roster behind Funchess.
Samuel is slated for an MRI on his injured left ankle Tuesday, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer reports.
Samuel's rookie season appears to be in peril after his left ankle was rolled up on during the third quarter of Monday night's demolition of the Dolphins. On Tuesday, head coach Ron Rivera relayed to Steve Reed of the Associated Press that the Panthers training staff isn't "very optimistic" about Samuel's current state. If Samuel misses time or even the rest of the campaign, as feared, the receiving corps will be further whittled down after dealing Kelvin Benjamin in recent weeks. Devin Funchess has skyrocketed to the No. 1 spot, but the depth thins out significantly thereafter, with Russell Shepard, Kaelin Clay and Brenton Bersin the remaining healthy options.
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