Carolina Panthers offensive guard Chandler Zavala went down with a terrifying injury during Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
With the Panthers trailing 14-0 with 1:44 remaining in the first quarter, Zavala went down, after trying to execute a block, and appeared to briefly be unconscious prior to a cart coming out onto the field. Prior to Zavala being loaded onto a backboard, players from both teams gathered on the field and took a knee around the injured lineman.
As Zavala was being treated, with players and coaches from both teams encircling him on the field, fans watched on in stunned silence.
Fortunately, in the first bit of good news, Zavala offered a thumbs up to the crowd, as he was being carted into the locker room.
Scary scene here as Panthers guard Chandler Zavala being transferred to a board to be carted off. Collided with Isaiah Buggs in a way that didn't look different than any other football snap, but immediately collapsed and wasn't moving.
— Justin Rogers | Detroit News (@Justin_Rogers) October 8, 2023
As he was being carted off, Zavala gave a thumbs up to the crowd, as the fans at Ford Field cheered for him on his way off.
Promising sign as Chandler Zavala gives a thumbs up while being carted off the field ? pic.twitter.com/1iOQcfv8qe
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) October 8, 2023
Even Panthers head coach Frank Reich was among those who gathered around Zavala, while he was down on the field.
Officially, Zavala's injury was initially diagnosed and announced as a neck injury. The Panthers announced that Zavala had been transported to a local hospital to undergo evaluation.
Prior to Sunday afternoon, the Panthers' fourth-round pick in this spring's 2023 NFL Draft had started all five games for Carolina and had quickly developed into a fixture along the offensive line. According to Pro Football Focus, the rookie out of N.C. State had allowed three sacks and 33 quarterback pressures, so far this season.
Fellow Carolina rookie, Nash Jenson replaced Zavala along the Panthers' offensive line, following the injury.
The Panthers' offense had struggled to gain any traction through the first half of Sunday's game, even before Zavala's injury.
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