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The QB waits

Posted Dec 2, 2009

Delhomme
With a broken finger sidelining Jake Delhomme on Wednesday, Matt Moore worked with the first unit. (PHOTO: ANDREW MASON / PANTHERS.COM)


CHARLOTTE -- The team-issue sweatsuit that Jake Delhomme wore Wednesday was comfortable -- like a sleeved blanket from a television commercial, except that it's actually acceptable to wear in public.

But the place he stood was anything but -- away from the action, still unable to grasp the football because of the broken finger on his throwing hand.

"I would be hard-pressed to grip a football right now," Delhomme said, later adding, "We're treating the heck out of it. We're trying to get swelling out as much as we can. Then, who knows?"

"Some of the swelling went down, but it still is broken," head coach John Fox said. "It didn't heal quite that fast."

He knew Sunday after breaking the digit late in the 17-6 loss to the New York Jets that something was wrong.

"(New York's) Calvin Pace was coming, and I threw it and his hand, and it went toward my pinky. That was the deal there," Delhomme said. "I kind of felt it at that point. With adrenaline, you just (keep going and finish the game). I had a decent idea after I showered that it wasn't feeling quite normal.

"I knew on the plane ride coming back home Sunday night," he added later. "We didn't take an X-ray after the game, because by the time we went in there, we're loading up to leave, and what we would do there isn't a whole lot different than what I did in the training room after visiting with you guys (the media).

"You know when you've got a bruise, and (head athletic trainer) Ryan (Vermillion) and I knew we'd have to take a picture (X-ray) of it on Monday morning."

Just as painful as the finger is the fact that the injury piles on a frustrating season for Delhomme, both individually and the team as a whole, with two sets of numbers defining it: 4-7, the team's record, and 8-18, his touchdown-to-interception ratio, which included four interceptions Sunday.

Handing the reins because of injury to backup Matt Moore -- even for a practice -- would be hard enough if things were going well. When they're not, it's nearly unbearable.

"If we're having a good season, it's one thing, but we're not," Delhomme said. "That's the toughest part. Whatever could go wrong has gone that way. So it's like, 'Okay.' You don't laugh about it, but you shrug your shoulders sometimes and say, 'OK, this is what we've got to go with.'"

And if it has to be Moore, Delhomme will be an ardent supporter, saying that the third-year quarterback would be "outstanding" if he played Sunday.

"I'm going to be 100 percent in his corner," Delhomme said. "In our room, guys care for each other. You don't put the work you put in and want somebody to fail. We're all behind him -- the whole offense, I promise you, everybody's 100 percent behind him, ready to go."