CHARLOTTE, NC — Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Matt Corral will likely miss the 2022-23 season with what coach Matt Rhule called a “significant” Lisfranc tire rupture.
“I would assume it would take a while; I would assume it would be a significant amount of time,” Rhule said on Saturday. “I’m pretty sure it will be a long-term injury.”
Corral sustained the left foot injury during Friday night’s preseason loss in New England.
A 2016 study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that NFL players with Lisfranc injuries who were treated without surgery did not recover for an average of 6.2 months and those who underwent surgery missed an average of 11.6 months. Rhule said Corral, his family, agent and team doctors are investigating the best option.
As for the starting quarterback battle between Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold, Rhule still wasn’t ready to name the winner, though multiple sources have said the job remains for Mayfield to lose.
Rhule also wasn’t ready to say whether he would make that decision before Friday’s preseason final against Buffalo, but he did say that “most if not all starters” will play against the Bills.
Nearly all starters, including Mayfield and Darnold, were held out of the 20-10 loss to the Patriots.
Rhule said Corral’s injury will not affect his decision on who will play against Buffalo. But he said it could affect whether the team keeps three quarterbacks, as he said the plan was early in training camp.
Corral probably would have been the third quarterback, behind Mayfield and Darnold. Carolina also has former XFL star PJ Walker, who has been 2-0 as a starter for the Panthers for the past two years.
Walker struggled with two interceptions and a lost fumble that resulted in a touchdown against New England.
“That position is a beating,” said Rhule. “We want as many good players as possible in that position and we don’t apologize for that. Matt went with me.”
Corral’s injury occurred in the fourth quarter when a player awkwardly stepped on his foot. He limped off the field and did not return, leaving Gillette Stadium in a walking boot.
Rhule said deep snapper JJ Jansen and other veterans gave up their seats in first class to give Corral more space on the flight home.
“I hate it for him,” Rhule said of Corral. “I thought he played well too.”
The Panthers selected Corral in the third round from Ole Miss. Friday’s match-up saw his most extended playing time in the preseason or preseason games as Mayfield and Darnold got a majority of the snaps.
Corral, who went 1-for-9 in the preseason opener in Washington, went 9-for-15 for 58 yards against New England.
“I thought I saw a lot of beautiful signs at the beginning of the match,” said Rhule. “But I know Matt is a fighter. This year’s development. He’s just going to have to grind, both taking care of his foot and all the things he has to do as a quarterback.
“Hopefully one day he will look back and say it was a blessing, but I hate it for him now.”