The Carolina Panthers received good news about linebacker Shaq Thompson. An MRI on Monday confirmed the rookie avoided a serious injury while making a tackle on a kickoff late in Sunday's win over the Seahawks.
According to a Panthers' spokesman, Thompson suffered a knee sprain, but his ACL was not affected. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported the specific injury is "a minor MCL sprain."
After cutting down Seahawks returner Tyler Lockett inside the 10-yard line on what Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis called "the biggest play of the game," Thompson hit the turf, writhing in pain.
"The returner, as he was trying to cut across, I think he saw Shaq coming and just ducked. And because he ducked he put the helmet right on Shaq's knee," coach Ron Rivera said. "The nice thing and the thing that was fortunate is his leg was coming up. It wasn't planted into the ground 100 percent. It was starting to come up, so he kind of got it caught that way."
Thompson, who after the game said his knee was "just sore," will likely miss some practice time and his status for Week 7 against the Eagles is in doubt. But considering how the injury looked when it first happened, Thompson and the Panthers dodged a bullet.
"Initially, they’re looking at a sprain and bone contusion," Rivera said. "Realistically, that’s the best news we could get."