Johnson suffered the injury in the Panthers' victory on a play in which he beat New England offensive lineman Marcus Cannon, who fell to the ground but whipped his leg up — which should have been penalized by league rules — and hit Johnson in the knee. Johnson could miss Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was very disappointed with the play, via ESPN.com.
"That's a disappointing play," Rivera said. "I'm pretty adamant about it. It happened to me when I played. I actually fractured my leg and sprained my interior cruciate. Whenever I see one of those, it really disappoints me.
"I know the league is aware of it, mostly because everybody in America saw it last night, so the league will handle that situation. It's a personal thing for me."
Asked if he thought the play was dirty, Rivera said:
"I'll let the league make that decision."
Cannon apologized for the play. The league is reportedly reviewing the play and could hand down a fine for it, but if you're the eye-for-eye type and hope that Cannon will be suspended a game while Johnson is out, don't hold your breath, as there is no precedent for it.
Detroit Lions defensive end Israel Idonije was fined $15,750 for a leg whip in Week 5, and New York Jets offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse was fined $7,875 for the same offense in the preseason. The highest fine in recent years, according to Spotrac, was $25,000 for San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Anthony Davis back in 2011.
Nonetheless, it's considered a very dirty play, and the kind that could end a season — or perhaps even a career.
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