Morgan, Peppers battle through injuries

It's worth keeping an eye on middle linebacker Dan Morgan's injured left shoulder. Morgan suffered a painful dislocation on Oct. 16 against the Detroit Lions and had to be carted off the field.

Morgan, who has never played a full 16-game season, vows to make it through this one.

It's a similar injury to one he first suffered three years ago, which caused him to miss the final three games of the 2002 season and finish the season on injured reserve. This time around, with the Panthers still in the playoff hunt, Morgan said he's going to try to play through the injury with a harness on his shoulder, one that could limit how far he can extend his left arm.

"I just need to play through it," Morgan said. "I just have to take my mind off it and just play. I'm not 100 percent, but I think I'll be able to play."

If Morgan gets hurt, you can expect Carolina's third-ranked run defense to take a huge hit.

Also, Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers said he doesn't expect a broken bone in his right hand to keep him out of Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings. Peppers said he broke a bone in the middle finger near the base of his hand, also against the Lions. He returned to action with a cast on, but was primarily used on third downs and obvious passing situations.

He expects to be back in the regular defensive line rotation on Sunday.

"I am expecting to play like I normally play," said Peppers, who got his first sack of the season before the bye week against Detroit.

Amazingly, the former two-sport star said it's the first time he's ever broken a bone while playing a sport.

Though he did not practice on Monday, Peppers said he plans to get some work in on Wednesday and try out the new cast. Unlike some old-time NFL players, Peppers will not have his hand wrapped in a gigantic cast, so there's no temptation to use it as a club.

"It's not really that hard," Peppers said. "It's a hard cast, but I would probably hurt myself more if I try to whack somebody with it."

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