Panthers’ Smith, Johnson injured

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith has
returned to Sunday’s game after injuring his hand in the second quarter
and being taken to the locker room.

Smith suffered the injury while trying
to catch a pass in the end zone from Cam Newton. Smith came up with the
catch but was called for offensive pass interference, nullifying the
score. He left the game holding his left hand and trainers almost
immediately took him to the locker room and missed an entire series
before returning just before halftime.

Smith had two receptions for 27 yards receiving at the time.

Earlier, Carolina’s Charles Johnson left
the game after taking a knee to the head from fellow defensive end Greg
Hardy. Johnson was taken to the locker room after trainers tested him
for a concussion on the sideline.

Johnson has not returned.

Johnson, tied for sixth in the league
with 8 1-2 sacks, injured his head when he collided with Hardy’s knee as
they were applying pressure on quarterback Josh Freeman in the
backfield late in the first quarter. Both Johnson and Hardy remained on
the ground for several minutes while being attended to by trainers.

Hardy got up limping, but did return on the next series to get a sack.