Kelvin Benjamin needs MRI after being carted off with ‘sprained’ knee

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (left) was quarterback Cam Newton's top target last season.  

Mitch Stringer/Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin will return to Charlotte to have an MRI on his left knee after he was injured and carted off the field during a scrimmage Wednesday with the Miami Dolphins.

Coach Ron Rivera said the preliminary diagnosis is a sprained knee, but Benjamin will have additional tests to make sure there is no ligament damage. Rivera said the team hopes to know more information later Wednesday.

Here’s how the reporters at practice chronicled the events as they played out:

"Everybody is trying to be positive and hopefully the good news will come later this afternoon," Rivera said after practice.

The injury occurred midway through practice when Benjamin slipped as he made a cut while running a crossing route. There was no contact on the play.

He fell to the ground and then sat up holding his left leg as players from both teams gathered around him and took a knee.

Trainers attended to Benjamin and quickly called for the cart to take him into the locker room. Quarterback and close friend Cam Newton helped Benjamin into the cart.

"He went to plant and make a swim move and without any contact just kind of went down," Rivera said. "It was unfortunate and it’s one of those things that could have happened in any drill."

The Panthers cannot afford to lose Benjamin, their best wide receiver and a favorite weapon for quarterback Cam Newton. He is coming off a stellar rookie season, catching 73 passes for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns and is expected to be the main target for Newton this season in the passing game.

Rivera said rookie wide receiver Devin Funchess also tweaked a hamstring and could miss practice Thursday against the Dolphins.

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin didn’t have an update on safety Louis Delmas, who was carted off the field with a leg injury shortly after Benjamin was taken to the locker room.