Panthers' MLB Dan Connor Steadily Improving From Knee Surgery

Eric QuackenbushSenior Analyst IMay 3, 2009

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 09:  Dan Connor #57 of the Carolina Panthers gets ready on the field before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Bank of America Stadium on August, 9, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

More good news from the Panthers organization today, as middle linebacker Dan Connor is steadily improving from knee surgery.

More than six months removed from the season ending ACL injury and rehabilitation, Dan Connor saw his first action on the practice field this weekend, during the Carolina Panthers' mandatory minicamp.

"It's just an unbelieveable feeling, just to put the helmet on," said Conner.

Last year, Connor was the Panthers' third round draft selection out of Penn State, and the Panthers were expecting to have him contribute a lot to special teams while being backup to middle linebacker Jon Beason.

Unfortunately for Connor, and to the dismay of fans, teammates, and the Panthers coaching staff, Connor's season came to a premature end during the preseason.

This weekend, Connor has been has been practicing with the first-team defense, as Beason is also recovering from off-season shoulder surgery.

Connor is said to be viewing 2008 as his "redshirt" season; while he wasn't involved in the action on the field he did get to watch from the sideline and learn from his teammates.

“As far as how game days work and adjustments and from one series to another you can change the entire scheme of your defense,” Connor said.

“That was a neat thing to be able to watch without having to be thrown to the wolves. You can watch and observe and realize that when it’s my turn I have to be able to be prepared and be quick and be able to react.”

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As expected, the Panthers are yet again looking at Connor to play backup to current starter Jon Beason.

On a side note, there's a pretty good chance that the Panthers won't be re-signing Jeremy Bridges, as they issued his No. 73 to backup guard Mackenzy Bernadeau; Bridges' old number.