The Carolina Panthers put together arguably their best defensive performance of the season but were missing a number of key players on their defense. Over the past few weeks, the team lost cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Bene Benwikere to season-ending injuries. Last week, Jared Allen suffered a fracture in his foot that forced him to miss Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals.
In the first half of the NFC Conference Championship Game, the Panthers lost two more starters as safety Roman Harper suffered an eye injury and then outside linebacker Thomas Davis suffered an arm injury. Both players' returns were listed initially as questionable but were ruled out for the remainder of the game by halftime.
The initial report by Charlotte Observer's Jonathan Jones was that Thomas Davis had fractured his forearm.
However, that doesn't appear like it will keep the longtime Panther from missing the Super Bowl and he has already made it clear that he will be ready for the big game in two weeks.
While the Panthers have suffered a number of injuries, it certainly hasn't hindered their performance as I mentioned this game against the Cardinals may have been their best performance all season. They forced seven turnovers, held the second highest scoring offense this regular season to only 15 points, and one of the top passing attacks to only 227 passing yards.
This was due to players like Robert McClain, Cortland Finnegan and Tre Boston stepping up when the opportunity has presented itself. This depth is a major reason why the Panthers are in the position they are in.
Over the next few days, head coach Ron Rivera is sure to provide updates on the conditions of the injured players. However, it is hard to imagine that Allen, Harper or Davis will miss the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl.