Skip to main content

PJ Walker optimistic about his condition

PJ Walker

CHARLOTTE — Even though interim coach Steve Wilks said earlier Monday that Baker Mayfield would start this week for an injured PJ Walker, Walker wasn't counting himself out yet, or at least not for long.

Walker walked through the locker room (without a protective boot) and said he wanted to see how he felt later in the week.

Walker suffered a high left ankle sprain during the fourth quarter of last week's win over the Falcons. He finished the game and got an MRI on Friday which showed the damage, but he said Monday he is hopeful he'll be back sooner rather than later.

"Do I think so? I don't know. Ask me later in the week, and I'll tell you then," Walker said. "It's the decision that's best for the team. So for me, it's just continue to take one day at a time and continue to get better, see where I'm at on Wednesday and Thursday, and we'll take it from there.

"When it happened, I got up a little gingerly, but for me to be able to finish the game, that was a good sign. . . . I didn't think it was that bad at the time. But the images and pictures said otherwise."

Wilks said that with Walker limited in terms of mobility (Walker estimated he was around "50 to 55 percent"), he decided to give him a week to heal, opening the door for Mayfield to return to the lineup.

Walker had started five straight games after Mayfield also suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 5 against the 49ers. Mayfield also finished that game. Wilks said Mayfield would be backed up this week by Sam Darnold, who is also recovering from a similar injury from the preseason.

"It's a bug in the room that has gotten all of us," Walker said.

He also admitted it's difficult considering his own status and how few chances he's gotten to start for an extended time. The former XFL quarterback had one start each of the previous two seasons, and he's also aware that if Darnold and rookie Matt Corral hadn't been injured in the preseason, he might not have been on the roster at all.

"This is really disappointing," Walker said. "As a team, we're getting better every week. It's tough to deal with. I want to be out there for the guys for sure, so I just want to see how things go by the end of the week."

— Wilks said that starting defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis would likely be out this week after he sustained a calf injury late in the Falcons game.

The 28-year-old Ioannidis missed the Buccaneers game in Week 7 after suffering a concussion the previous week.

In his absence, the Panthers will have to use Bravvion Roy and Daviyon Nixon more this week.

The news appears good for safety Jeremy Chinn, who was designated to return from IR last week and got through a practice without incident. They have time to add him back to the 53-man roster, but Wilks said, "hopefully, we'll be able to get him up this week."

— Wilks said it was "definitely disappointing" to lose cornerback Donte Jackson for the year to a torn Achilles suffered last week.

The two-time team captain had a pair of interceptions this year, and Wilks said Keith Taylor Jr. and Tae Hayes will have to step up and play larger roles now.

"So it's going to be definitely hard to replace that leadership," Wilks said. "But on the field, we got to definitely step up, and you know, fill the void."

— The Panthers released practice squad wide receiver Emeka Emezie on Monday, clearing the way for the addition of quarterback D'Eriq King to the practice squad.

With Walker's injury, it gives them a third quarterback for practice. King, who played at the University of Miami and in the XFL, also gives them a more mobile quarterback during the week in which they're preparing for Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.

View the best photos from pregame, in-game, and post game after Thursday's win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Related Content