Carolina Panthers Star Linebacker Shaq Thompson Suffers Season-Ending Injury

The Carolina Panthers 2023 regular season has gone from bad to worse. Head coach Frank Reich revealed at his Tuesday press conference that veteran linebacker Shaq Thompson suffered a fractured fibula in last night's 20-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football and will miss the remainder of the season. Thompson was carted off the field after 17 defensive snaps. The 29-year-old linebacker has been a fixture for the Panthers since they made him the 25th overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, appearing in 119 games and logging 108 starts. He's coming off a career-high 135 total tackles in 2022.

Thompson's injury is the latest indication that the Panthers are in for a long year. The team sent multiple draft picks and star wide receiver D.J. Moore to the Chicago Bears for the right to draft Alabama quarterback Bryce Young first overall, and he has struggled to adjust to NFL defenses. The 2021 Heisman winner has netted an NFL-worst 3.45 net yards per passing attempt in two losing starts.

At this rate, Thompson won't miss much. The Panthers are on their way to being one of the worst teams in football. Ordinarily, bottoming out and tanking the season would be a sensible option for a team in this sort of disarray, except the Bears own the Panthers' 2024 first-round pick. The Panthers' woes could extend well into next year, too. 

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