The news doesn't appear to be all good for the Carolina Panthers after their 38-10 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After the game, head coach Ron Rivera said he wasn't sure of the severity of Charles Tillman's injury but there is concern, according to Charlotte Observer's Joe Person.
Tillman suffered the injury to his right knee in third quarter and was kept out the remainder of the game. It is not apparent if this is the same knee that forced him to miss four games earlier in the year. He returned two weeks ago against the NY Giants but prior to his return, Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review reported that Tillman was dealing with a partially torn ACL.
The Panthers' secondary has been hit hard with injuries the second half of the season with Tillman missing those four games. The week before his return his replacement at the time, Bene Benwikere, suffered a fractured leg in the Panthers first game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Panthers' general manager Dave Gettleman has done a good job of finding replacements in free agency. When Tillman went down with his injury, the team brought in Cortland Finnegan who has played well as the team's nickelback. Then after the injury to Benwikere, the Panthers' signed Robert McClain. The former seventh-round pick of the Panthers came in for Tillman against the Bucs and had the team's second interception.
The Panthers' signed Tillman in the offseason as a free agent and took a bit of a risk. The 13-year veteran had struggled to stay healthy in his final season with the Chicago Bears and missed 22 of the past 32 regular season games due to injuries. However, he has played very well earlier this year and more importantly stayed healthy. He currently has 34 tackles, two forced fumbles and two interceptions in 11 games.