Just when the Carolina Panthers thought it the season couldn’t get any worse, it has. After avoiding major injuries all season long, the league’s highest-paid center, Ryan Kalil, is out for the season, in a move just announced by head coach Ron Rivera.
Kalil has a Lisfranc injury to his left foot that will require surgery and he has been placed on the injured reserve list. A Lisfranc injury is in the midfoot, and pretty painful from what I hear. The recovery is 8-12 weeks.
Rivera said the injury occurred before halftime of the Seattle game on Sunday. His foot was re-taped and Kalil continued to play.
“It’s unfortunate. He was having a terrific year in spite of our situation,” Rivera said. “Individually, he was doing great. We’re just going to hope for the best and we’ll go from there.”
“He’s certainly one of the emotional leaders and it’s hard to replace those kind of guys,” Rivera said. “But the truth of the matter is, it’s time for us as a team to step up anyway. And this is another one of those things that’s going to try us. That’s why we keep guys as back-up players. Now they’ve got their opportunity.”
Rivera said the team may look outside the organization for help on the offensive line.
Kalil took out an ad in the Charlotte Observer at the start of training camp promising the city a Super Bowl. The team wore shirts saying, “We have Ryan Kalil’s back” to show their support of the outlandish promise (at least today it looks outlandish). He is an emotional leader and will be missed by the team. His spot at center will be taken by guard Geoff Hangartner, who has starting experience. Jeff Byers and Garry Williams will compete for the guard position.