The football game is not the only thing the Carolina Panthers lost Friday night. Tight end, Gary Barnidge suffered a broken ankle in the loss against the Miami Dolphins. At the post game presser, Coach Ron Rivera gave no timetable for Barnidge’s return. Some reports state that Barnidge would be unavailable for at least 12 weeks.
Barnidge was fourth on Carolina’s tight end depth chart behind Greg Olsen, Jeremy Shockey, and Ben Hartsock and his chance of making the final roster could have been debated. Many Panther fans feel that Barnidge has the ability to be a reliable target, however, he just would not have the opportunity to see the field much this year.
If there is a positive coming from this injury it is in the fact that now the Panthers can place Barnidge on the Injured Reserve since his injury is serious enough to cost him 75% of the season. By placing him on the IR, the Panthers can keep their top three tight ends and have another roster spot for another position while keeping Barnidge in the organization.
If the Panthers do not put Barnidge on the IR, I believe that we have seen the last of the former Louisville Cardinal in Charlotte. However, seeing that Jeremy Shockey only signed a one-year contract with the team, it would make sense for the Panthers to place Barnidge of the IR instead of cutting him and allowing the ankle to heal to 100%. Then next year, if Shockey is not retained, Barnidge can finally step into the #2 tight end position and pair up with Greg Olsen.
The injury bug keeps biting the Panthers as now they have lost four players to significant time. WR-David Gettis and rookie OL-Zack Williams tore their ACLs and DT-Ron Edwards tore his tricep. Now with Barnidge, the Panthers have possibly lost four players for the 2011 season. We’ll keep you updated on what the Panthers decide to do concerning this situation.