Smith fractures fibula
by John Tuvey - Senior Editor, Fanball.com
Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Panther wide receiver Steve Smith, who had a breakout season last year with 88 catches for 1,110 yards and seven touchdowns, will miss at least a month after fracturing his left fibula in a season-opening loss to the Packers.

Smith sustained the injury in the with about five minutes remaining in the game, as the Panthers were mounting a late drive. He made a catch and was dragged down from behind by Hannibal Navies as he neared the sidelines. Smith was in obvious pain as he went down and had to be helped off the field.

Panther head coach John Fox said in his postgame news conference that Smith had suffered a fractured fibula. He will be out at least a month, and possibly longer depending on the severity of the injury.

After Smith left the game, Muhsin Muhammad caught a 30-yard touchdown pass on the next play to pull the Panthers to within 10 points. On Carolina's following drive, Karl Hankton took Smith's place and caught two passes.

Hankton will likely see more action in the coming month, as will rookie wideout Keary Colbert, who was inactive for this game. Without their prime downfield target, the Panthers may also have to scrap plans to rely more heavily on the pass and turn to the running back tandem of Steven Davis and DeShaun Foster.