The Carolina Panthers could have to finish their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers without star wide receiver Steve Smith, who went to the locker room with a hand injury, according to Steve Reed of the Associated Press:
Panthers WR steve Smith is headed to the locker room. Looks like his left hand— Steve Reed (@SteveReedAP) November 18, 2012
However, Michael Fabiano of NFL.com reports that Smith is already back in the game for the Panthers:
Steve Smith back in the game...— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) November 18, 2012
According to Adam Levitan of Rotoworld, Smith had X-rays taken of his hand before returning to the game:
Update on Steve Smith's hand issue: He's back after a quick trip to the locker room. X-rays apparently negative.— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) November 18, 2012
Despite holding an early advantage in Sunday's game against the Buccaneers, the Panthers' offense has looked terrible. Cam Newton has completed just four of his 12 passes for 89 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
Smith did haul in two of Newton's completions for 27 yards. He is leading the Panthers in receiving yards with 649, yards per reception (16.6) and is second in receptions (39). He also has nine catches of at least 20 yards.
However, one interesting note is that Smith has been targeted 77 times coming into today's game. That means he is only turning half of the balls thrown his way into catches, which could be a product of poor throws by Newton.
We will keep you updated on Smith's hand injury when more information becomes available.