Carolina Panthers star wide receiver Steve Smith injures finger during practice

Last season was nightmare to say the least for the Carolina Panthers as they became arguably the worst team in the NFL. The franchise thought things would begin to turn around after getting rid of veteran quarterback Jake Delhomme (Cleveland Browns) and drafting rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen out of Notre Dame, but things just seemed to get worse as arguably their best player Julius Peppers (Chicago Bears) left via free agency and their rookie quarterback turned out to be a bust.

Obviously, rookie quarterbacks are destined to struggle in their first season in the NFL, but Jimmy Clausen was considered to be one of the quarterbacks most NFL-ready. Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be the case and has forced the Carolina Panthers to draft another franchise caliber quarterback in BCS champion and Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton out of Auburn.

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With the number one overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, the Carolina Panthers just picked the best athlete available and Cam Newton was at the top of the list. It was somewhat of an ill-advised decision to take another

quarterback with a high draft pick, but Newton might turn out to be just what the doctored order for this struggling NFL franchise.

Steve Smith, American football wide receiver f...

The Cam Newton era of the Carolina Panthers will begin this Saturday night when they host the New York Giants, but they will have to take on Eli Manning and company without their star wide receiver Steve Smith. Even though Smith has struggled with season-ending injuries over the last couple of years, the star wideout was hoping for a fresh start coming into the NFL preseason with Cam Newton under center.

Unfortunately, the four-time Pro Bowler will have to wait a little bit longer before he can start the season with his new teammate Cam Newton as the veteran wide receiver has suffered a finger injury that will keep him out the first week of the preseason. The injury happened during Tuesday’s practice in South Carolina where the star wideout sustained a cut near the bottom of his left middle finger.

When the news of Steve Smith’s injury first broke it was called a dislocation, but now that appears not to be the case. The cut on his finger required stitches and x-rays revealed no broken bones.

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Reportedly, this finger injury will not keep Steve Smith out of any regular season games, but he will miss up to a week or more. This means the Carolina Panthers will not have Steve Smith in the lineup against the New York Giants this weekend.

Hopefully, for the sake of Cam Newton and company, the three-time All-Pro will be able to get back on the gridiron as soon as possible and start to strike up some chemistry with his new quarterback. The potential for a setback or two for a wide receiver with an injury like this is pretty high.

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