NFL

Panthers DE Johnson returns from knee injury

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)

Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson has injured his right knee during the third quarter against the New England Patriots but returned to the game late.

Johnson, the team's highest-paid player, was leg-whipped on the outside of his right knee by Patriots right tackle Marcus Cannon and pounded the ground in agony Monday night. Johnson limped off the field under his own power, then was put on a cart and taken into the locker room.

His return was questionable, but he was on the sideline riding a stationary bike and trying to warm up during the second half. Johnson returned to the game as the Patriots started their final drive with 59 seconds left.

Johnson entered the game with 8 1/2 sacks this season for Carolina's top-ranked defense.

Tagged: Patriots, Panthers, Charles Johnson

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