Coach Ron Rivera announced Monday that veteran cornerback Charles Tillman tore his ACL in Sunday's regular-season finale versus the Buccaneers.
The knee has been an issue for Tillman since Week 10, when reports surfaced that it was hyperextended. Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review then reported in mid-December that Tillman was dealing with a partially torn ACL.
The 13-year veteran understood the risk of a complete tear, but wanted to continue playing for a dominant Panthers squad that remained undefeated deep into the season.
Tillman's season-ending injury comes just a few weeks after slot corner Bene' Benwikere was placed on injured reserve with a broken leg.
A team that managed to avoid major injuries for four months following Kelvin Benjamin's August ACL tear will now enter the playoffs minus two of its top three cornerbacks.
Here are other injuries we've been following on Monday:
- Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford "took a hit to the head" during Sunday's win over the Raiders and is in concussion protocol, coach Andy Reid said.
- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady suffered a high ankle sprain in Sunday's loss to the Miami Dolphins, but it's not considered serious. He should play in the Patriots' Divisional Round playoff matchup in 12 days.
- Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynchreturned to the team's practice facility Monday for the first time since undergoing abdominal surgery for a sports hernia. Coach Pete Carroll said that Lynch is "ready to go" and will practice Wednesday with the hope he can play Sunday.
- Steelers running back DeAngelo Williamssuffered a sprained ankle during Sunday's win over the Browns, according to Rapoport. It remains to be seen if he'll play in the team's wild-card playoff game against the Bengals.
- Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson will have surgery on his fractured right tibia in about a week, coach Todd Bowles announced. Wilkerson is set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
- Colts running back Frank Gore told NFL Network's Stacey Dales he will be having surgery to repair his left index finger when he returns to California this week.
- Chargers coach Mike McCoy said running back Melvin Gordonwill make a full recovery from a left knee injury he suffered Dec. 20 against the Dolphins. McCoy told reporters Gordon is scheduled to undergo knee surgery with Dr. James Andrews.
- Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he has ligament damage in his right thumb, according to the Sacramento Bee. He is tentatively scheduled for surgery Wednesday and will take three months to fully recover.
- Bengals coach Marvin Lewis told reporters he has no comment on Andy Dalton's thumb injury. He is preparing like AJ McCarron will be the starter this week. Linebacker Emmanuel Lamur (knee) was placed on injured reserve.
- Offensive tackle Duane Brown suffered a bad quad injury during the Texans' win over the Jaguars and will undergo surgery Wednesday, coach Bill O'Brien said. Linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (foot) and Nate Washington (hip) are both day to day.
- The Vikings announced on Monday that Rhett Ellison (knee) will miss the rest of the season. Ellison will need surgery and is expected to miss about six months.