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Panthers WR Smith will have MRI on his knee

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)

Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith said he will have an MRI on Monday morning to determine if he has any ligament damage to his left knee.

Smith said team doctors told him they are concerned about his posterior cruciate ligament.

''They say it's a nothing injury, but I know my knee doesn't feel like it's nothing,'' Smith said.

Coach Ron Rivera said he hasn't spoken to trainers about Smith and doesn't know the extent of the injury.

''I won't talk to him until later,'' Rivera said. ''That way I won't have to answer the question, in all honesty.''

Smith appeared to be walking around the locker room without much of a limp after the game and was not on crutches. He did not have his knee in a brace.

Smith initially injured the knee running a slant route in the first quarter and was taken to the locker room for observations. He returned midway through the second quarter with the Panthers trailing 6-0 and ran one route, but was limping noticeably. He quickly pulled himself out of the game and walked straight to the locker room while favoring his left knee.

Smith said he heard a ''pop'' when he first injured the knee.

Domenik Hixon replaced Smith and caught the winning touchdown pass while lining up in Smith's spot.

Panthers defensive tackle Colin Cole injured his calf and did not return.

Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro injured his lower left leg and was carted off the field. The medical staff placed an air cast on his left leg before removing him from the field. He will be reevaluated on Monday.

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Tagged: Panthers, Steve Smith Sr.

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