The Carolina Panthers underwent significant changes this offseason, but the one player they made sure to keep was Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy by placing the franchise tag on him.
The 25-year-old isn't off to a great start in 2014, though.
According to Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, via the team's official Twitter feed, Hardy is not going to be available for the team's OTA session on Wednesday after undergoing surgery on his leg.
Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer talked to head coach Ron Rivera, who spoke about Hardy's leg:
Hardy was receiving “maintenance” on his leg, said Rivera, who mentioned Hardy’s history with a knee injury. Last Wednesday, Newton stayed inside to work on the underwater treadmill, and Wednesday he was back inside again rehabbing his ankle.
“There’s no surgery, no major injury or anything,” Rivera said of Hardy. “He should be on the field tomorrow.”
Hardy was instrumental in Carolina's resurgence in 2013, finishing third in the NFL with 15 sacks and being named a second-team All-Pro. He was due to become a free agent after the season, but he signed a one-year franchise tender at $13.116 million in March.
Unfortunately, his offseason didn't get off to the best of starts even before this news. Hardy was arrested in May and "officially charged with assault on a female and communicating threats" after an incident involving his girlfriend, per Newton.
In addition to his legal troubles, Hardy will now need to get back to full health. This injury doesn't sound like anything that will cause Hardy to miss significant time, but this certainly isn't the kind of news Carolina wants to hear after all the roster turnover it has had to deal with in the last four months.
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