Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith broke his arm in a flag football game at a charity camp over the weekend. Smith underwent surgery Sunday night, and is not expected to miss significant playing time.
Smith broke his left arm in the game, the same arm he broke last season in Week 16. Derrick Fox, Smith’s agent, spoke with the receiver after the injury and discovered that the break was not in the wrist, but in a different spot. The former Utah standout received a few screws, and a plate in his arm Sunday. There was no nerve damage, and Smith is expected to make a full recovery.
“They were messing around, the ball went over his head and he slipped,” Fox said Monday. “He put his arm out to brace himself. When he did he felt a sharp pain. He went in [Sunday] afternoon to have an X-ray and it showed a break.”
Though the break was an accident, Smith still felt terrible about the incident. He called Panther’s general manager Marty Hurney immediately after his surgery to tell him he would be focused on making his return to the team before the start of the season.
“Steve talked to me and he feels terrible about it,” Hurney said. “Now his focus is on the rehabilitating process and getting back as quickly as he can.”
Doctors predict that with time and good rehabilitation, Smith should be ready for the start of the season September 12th when the team visits the New York Giants in the new Meadowlands Stadium.
“I’m not trying to play doctor, but I don’t think he’ll miss any games due to this injury,” Fox told reporters.
Last season, Smith caught 65 passes, scored seven receiving touchdowns, and was just 18 yards shy of his fifth consecutive 1,000 yard receiving season. He holds the team records for touchdowns with 58, and 100 yard receiving games with 32. His best season was 2005 when he led the league in catches, yards receiving, and touchdowns catches.
Panthers camp will be missing a few familiar faces with the absence of Smith and Jake Delhomme. Delhomme was released in the off-season in favor of backup Matt Moore, who was promoted to starter with five games left in the season. Another new face will be Jimmy Clausen, who the Panthers drafted out of Notre Dame in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft.
NFL sportsbooks have set the Panthers chances of winning the NFC South at +600. Their pre-season odds to win the NFC Championship are set at +1600, and they are among the underdogs to win Super Bowl XLV at +4000.