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Panthers put Davis on injured reserve

By Associated Press
Published December 18, 2005

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Panthers placed three-time Pro Bowl running back Stephen Davis on season-ending injured reserve Saturday with a swollen right knee.

Davis, who ran for a career-high 1,444 yards in 2003 for the Panthers, developed soreness and swelling last week in his surgically repaired right knee. He had microfracture surgery on the knee last year, but returned this summer to recapture his starting position.

The 31-year-old Davis ran for a team-record 12 touchdowns this season, but averaged 3.1 yards and has seen his playing time dwindle in recent weeks with 20 carries over the past month. DeShaun Foster started last weekend in place of Davis.

Davis finishes with 549 yards on 180 carries.

Panthers general manager Marty Hurney called the move "disappointing" and said the decision wasn't based on medical tests.

"We felt like given his condition it was necessary that we make the move," Hurney said.

"What he does for us on the field, as well as his leadership he brings in the locker room, is important. He has really helped out working with all of the other backs and made them better. He's extremely valuable to us and we think he can still help us out in that area."

The injury raises some question about Davis' future with the Panthers. He is due to count $3.85-million against next year's salary cap and is slated to receive a $1-million bonus on April1. If the Panthers release Davis, they would free up more than $2.5-million in cap space.

But Davis has said he would be willing to accept a pay cut to return next season.

Nick Goings will be the backup running back when the Panthers play the Saints today at Baton Rouge, La.

JETS: Defensive end Shaun Ellis (hamstring), tackle Dewayne Robertson (thigh) and linebacker Mark Brown (neck) will miss today's game against Miami.

PACKERS: The team is expected to be without tight end Bubba Franks and linebacker Robert Thomas for Monday night's game against the Ravens because of lingering injuries. Franks missed last weekend's game with neck and back soreness. Thomas has strained quadriceps.

RAMS: Coach Mike Martz, who stepped down in October with a heart ailment and got clearance Friday to return this season, is unlikely to come back to the team. St. Louis is expected to reach a settlement with the coach, who has one year remaining on a three-year contract and is due $3.25-million. Martz has clashed with the front office all season and likely would seek a coaching job elsewhere in the league. John Hadley, a spokesman for Martz, confirmed that the coach had been cleared by his physician to return on Jan. 1. But interim coach Joe Vitt is expected to coach the final regular-season game Jan. 1 at Dallas.

[Last modified December 18, 2005, 01:02:23]


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