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Health Team

Panthers LB Thomas Davis could play with fractured arm

Posted January 29

The last time the Carolina Panthers had a shot at a Super Bowl title was in 2004 when they lost to the New England Patriots.

Fans are convinced that this is the team that will be crowned champions after next week's game, but they're a bit concerned about outside linebacker Thomas Davis, who's planning to play with a broken arm.

Davis fractured his right arm when he was caught in an awkward position. The Panthers beat the Cardinals, advancing to the Super Bowl, but there was a big question after the game: Will Davis be able to play in the Super Bowl?

"Listen to me," Davis said. "If anybody listening to me right now knows me, I'm not going to miss the Super Bowl for the world. You better believe that, I'll be there."

The next morning, Davis had surgery to fix a fracture in his right forearm.

The forearm is made up of two bones, the smaller ulna bone and the workhorse radius bone. Davis's ability to play on Super Bowl Sunday depends on which bone is fractured and how severely, said WRAL's Dr. Allen Mask.

"This is the ulna, which is where we think Thomas Davis had his fracture," said Dr. Wallace Andrew, a surgeon at the Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic.

Andrew said it's not a common injury on the football field.

"This is also called a night stick fracture," Andrew said. "If the night stick is swung at you, your natural response is put your arm up, so you get here and you get a night stick fracture."

Andrew said Davis's surgery stabilized the fracture, most likely using a steel compression plate and screws.

Still, the big question looms.

"Can he play, and can he play safely?" Andrew said. "That's up to the doctor. And I think the answer to that would be 'Yes he can.'"

In that case, Andrew said Davis's arm should be braced, which will limit arm rotation.

"I don't think the tackling would be much of an issue, but a loose ball, an interception, that's going to be hard with the brace on – harder," Andrew said. "It's got to be safe though. That's the key."

Andrew also said that if Davis only had one week after the surgery to play, his arm might have been too uncomfortable for him to suit up. However, with two weeks to heal, Andrew believes Davis can be effective for the Panthers defense.

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