Noble: I'll return

The doctor didn't mince words: Brandon Noble's knee injury still might be career-threatening. But Noble also said his doctor told him some of the torn ligaments weren't as bad as originally feared. And Noble said he still plans on returning next summer.

Noble said today he'll undergo surgery on his left knee in six weeks. He tore three ligaments and dislocated his kneecap in a preseason win over Baltimore.

''The doctors said it's not something I can't come back from,'' Noble said. ''It'll be one of those things where I can get back on the field hopefully next summer. But it'll be in my head. It'll take a while even after I get on the field to come back from something like this. But I have every intention of being on the field next year.''

Noble said Dr. Glen Perry will perform the surgery in Charlotte. Other doctors told him he might need two surgeries; Perry said it'll likely require just one.

Perry also told him the PCL isn't as bad as originally feared, partly because when the original X-rays were taken there was so much fluid in the knee. The doctor told him he didn't think the PCL was completely shot.

''I felt better after talking to him,'' Noble said. ''But it doesn't change what it is. . . . It's six weeks of this [crutches] and then we start all over again.''

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