Jeremy Chinn injury is a potential disaster for the Carolina Panthers

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Jeremy Chinn
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Jeremy Chinn /

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Jeremy Chinn’s injury is a potential problem for the Carolina Panthers.

The Carolina Panthers are facing a potential disaster to their chances at the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9 and possibly beyond. Star rookie Jeremy Chinn missed practice on Wednesday with a knee injury that defensive end Brian Burns claimed that is “probably worse than he thinks“, which doesn’t exactly scream optimism regard his chances of making the lineup.

Not only would this be a huge blow to the player himself. But the Carolina Panthers rely on Chinn heavily to provide a spark at the second level that they aren’t getting from Tahir Whitehead or Shaq Thompson.

Simply put, losing him for even one game would significantly hamper their chances.

The Carolina Panthers have a superb player in Jeremy Chinn.

Chinn has been absolutely phenomenal through the first half of the campaign. He is a leading candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year after making the smoothest of transitions to the next level and the former Southern Illinois standout is already an indispensable member of the roster.

Hopefully, for the player and the Panthers, it is nothing more than a knock. But given their lack of expectations at the Super Bowl champions this weekend, it might be prudent to sit Chinn out and let the injury fully heal to boost his hopes of making a telling contribution down the stretch.

Losing a player who has become the heartbeat of their defense in only his first season as a professional would be a bitter pill to swallow. Carolina isn’t exactly blessed with quality depth on defense and they could ill-afford to lose such an impactful presence for a considerable period of time.

This is a situation the Panthers need to handle with care. They’ve done this with running back Christian McCaffrey and one could argue that Chinn is equally as important to their aspirations on the other side of the ball.

With seemingly little to play for but pride between now and the campaign’s conclusion, Carolina has the luxury of being ultra-cautious with their injured stars rather than throwing them back in when they aren’t quite at 100 percent. This would apply to Chinn if his knee problem forces the outside linebacker to miss time, but it doesn’t make his absence any less of a blow.

Who would come in a replace Chinn is up for debate. Jermaine Carter could fill the void but has played just eight percent of the Panthers’ defensive snaps this season, and there is also the option of putting free-agent signing Julian Stanford into a more prominent role.

Neither could hold a candle to Chinn based on his early-season form and it wouldn’t take long for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to target this suspect linebacker corps early and often in the event the No. 64 overall pick misses out.

Chinn has already logged 67 combined tackles, 38 solo tackles, five passes defended, one interception, and two quarterback hits this season. He was October’s Defensive Rookie of the Year and has a Pro Football Focus grade of 54.6, which might be understating his eye-catching performances and his rare gift to always be around the football.

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Carolina need him fit and firing on all cylinders. But Chinn’s long-term health must take priority over anything else.