The Carolina Panthers lost their fourth straight game to fall to 6-6 on the season on Sunday, December 2. But more devastating than the fact that their playoff hopes became that much more murky with a 24-17 defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was the loss of Cam Newton's favorite 6-foot-6 target, tight end Greg Olsen, after he ruptured his plantar fascia.
According to quotes gathered by Panthers website, Olsen knew he had suffered some serious damage as soon as the injury occurred. The 33-year-old pass catching veteran wouldn't get past the second snap in the second quarter of the contest before noticing that he couldn't put any weight on his right foot. While Olsen concedes that he's been dealing with nagging soft-tissue soreness in the area over the past several weeks, he explained during his post-game chat with the press that this time around it was clear to him that he couldn't force the issue.
"I came out of my stance and I just knew right away what had happened. It popped pretty good on me," Olsen told reporters. He went on to confess that there had been some worry among his camp all along that he could get hurt trying to compensate for a Jones fracture that got re-aggravated earlier this season.
As Sports Illustrated notes in its reporting on the predicament he currently finds himself in, Olsen wound up missing over a month of action after a September match-up against Dallas saw him go down with pain in the same foot, which cost him nine games to surgery and recuperation last season."It's been a long time since my foot has been normal. When we started this off, we said we'd do the best that we could -- I didn't know if it was going to last one week or the whole season," said Olsen. "We got as far as we could have asked, I guess. It's just a tough way to end there, but that's football."
When asked whether he may be considering retirement given he trouble his foot has given him in his 12th season, Olsen said he tries not to make rash decisions in a time of such crisis. But it was clear by the emotional tone his words carried that the three-time Pro-Bowl star isn't as confident as he'd like to be in his prospects moving forward.
Prior to suffering the initial injury to his foot, Olsen had come into his own by joining Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce as one of the top three players at his position. As NFL.com reported, he had even begun to notch a milestone or two under his belt in becoming the first tight end to ever put three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in the books.
The Panthers now face the obstacle of matching up against the high-powered New Orleans Saints without their big man, in two of their next four games. Only time will tell if that will be the extent of their concerns so far as they relate to Olsen.