The NFL notebook …
CHARLOTTE ó The man who has been blamed for starting Carolina’s injury curse had to share time with the latest unknown fill-in in the Panthers’ locker room on Wednesday.
As Maake Kemoeatu made a rare appearance around the team while riding around with his right leg bent on the back of a specially made scooter, reporters rushed from him to talk to Geoff Schwartz, Carolina’s newest starting offensive lineman.
Schwartz’s first NFL start will come against mighty Minnesota on Sunday and involve blocking for inexperienced quarterback Matt Moore. The defense, meanwhile, could have its 14th different lineup in 14 games with cornerback Richard Marshall nursing a sore right ankle.
While falling from 12-4 in 2008 to 5-8 this season is no reason to smile, Carolina’s injury woes have taken on almost comical tone with 10 players on season-ending injured reserve.
“For whatever reason, it seems like every other year we get whacked, and this has been one of those years,” coach John Fox said. “Nobody comes and rescues you. Nobody wants to hear about it. You’ve just got to plug in the next guy and keep swinging the sword.”
The Panthers will face the Vikings (11-2), Giants (7-6) and Saints (13-0) to close the season with a lineup that might make an old XFL team blush.
HENRY INJURED IN DISPUTE
CHARLOTTE ó Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry suffered serious injuries after falling out of the back of a pickup truck during a domestic dispute with his fiancee, police said Wednesday.
Henry was found in the road in south Charlotte “apparently suffering life-threatening injuries,” according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. Henry was transported to Carolinas Medical Center, the local trauma unit, but spokesman Scott White said he was not listed in hospital records and had no other information.
Police said a dispute began at a home just before noon and Henry jumped into the bed of the pickup truck as his unidentified fiancee was driving away from the residence.
“The domestic situation continued between the operator and Mr. Henry,” the police said in a statement. “At some point while she was driving, Mr. Henry came out of the back of the vehicle.”
Henry was found on a residential street about a half mile away from the home when police were called to the scene after a medic report that a man was down.