Report: Scapula fracture to sideline Panthers QB Sam Darnold

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Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold has sustained a scapula fracture on his throwing shoulder that's expected to sideline him for multiple weeks, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported

Darnold suffered the injury in Sunday's loss to the New England Patriots. Head coach Matt Rhule confirmed to reporters on Monday that Darnold was scheduled to undergo an MRI. The Panthers intend to start backup quarterback P.J. Walker in his absence, according to the report. 

Prior to the news of Darnold's injury, the Panthers announced they are signing veteran backup quarterback Matt Barkley from the Tennessee Titans practice squad pending a physical.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold looks on before an NFL football game between the Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Sam Darnold is expected to miss multiple weeks with a scapula fracture. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

Who is P.J. Walker?

Walker, 26, joined the NFL as an undrafted rookie out of Temple with the Indianapolis Colts in 2017, where he was a member of the team's practice squad. He made his first and only NFL start with the Panthers last season for an inured Teddy Bridgewater in a 20-0 win over the Detroit Lions. 

In limited action, Walker's completed 35 of 71 NFL pass attempts for 401 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions. All five interceptions came over the course of two games — two in his start against the Lions and three in a relief appearance against the New Orleans Saints in Week 17 last season.

Darnold has struggled in Charlotte since a 3-0 Panthers start after an offseason trade from the New York Jets. His long-term future with the Panthers was murky prior to the news of his shoulder injury. In nine games with the Panthers, Darnold has completed 59.5% of his passes while averaging 214.5 yards per game with seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The Panthers dropped to 4-5 since the 3-0 start to the season. 

Carolina will face the 8-1 Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

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