A delayed start to Friday's Buffalo Bills-Carolina Panthers preseason finale might have been an ominous foreshadowing for the host at Bank of America Stadium.
Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold is believed to have suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Bills, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Darnold, who was carted off the field to the locker room during the second half of the game, will have an MRI on Saturday to determine the severity of the sprain and if there is any other damage, Rapoport added.
Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said it sounds like it's not a fracture, but provided no other update.
Darnold's injury followed an oblique injury suffered by 2020 first-round pick Derrick Brown and a groin injury sustained by kicker Zane Gonzalez while attempting a warmup kick on the sidelines. Rhule said Brown likely could have returned, but held him out, and did not have a detailed update for Gonzalez.
Darnold, who on Monday was told Baker Mayfield had won the Panthers' starting quarterback job, was hit while attempting a throw in Friday's game by the Bills' C.J. Brewer. Brewer then came down on Darnold's left leg, which rolled under the defensive lineman.
The No. 3 overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft by the New York Jets, Darnold was entering his second season with the Panthers. With Mayfield starting and rookie Matt Corral out for the season with a Lisfranc injury, P.J. Walker would presumably step into the No. 2 spot if Darnold's injury keeps him out.
Brown, who the Panthers selected with the No. 7 overall pick in 2020, was ruled out in the first half of the game with the aforementioned oblique injury.
Gonzalez's injury was the most happenstance, as he was attempting a kick into the net on the sideline and then went down to the ground clutching his leg.