CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee for the third time in less than 23 months.
The injury occurred during the third quarter of Sunday's 30-23 loss to Green Bay when Davis' leg got twisted in a pile of players. It's another huge blow to Carolina's defense, which lost fellow defensive captain Jon Beason for the year with a torn Achilles in the season opener against Arizona.
Coach Ron Rivera said Monday that it's "disappointing news" for Davis, who was placed on injured reserve.
"He trained so hard to come back," Rivera said. "Everything was coming together and he was playing really well. It was just like Jon last week where he was looking good and playing well and then something like this happens. We'll go forward and see how things unfold."
Davis first tore his right ACL on Nov. 8, 2009 against New Orleans. He tried to make it back for the next season but re-tore his ACL in the June minicamps. Davis had more than a year to recover from that second surgery and the Panthers felt like he'd be ready to go this season.
Davis shared news of the injury on his Twitter account.
"I would like 2 take the time and thank every1 that has supported me over my career," he wrote. "Unfortunately, I have re torn my acl. Thx 4 da prayers!!"
The Panthers signed him to a five-year, $35.5 million contract extension in July, but only $8 million of that money was guaranteed -- a $7 million signing bonus and $1 million base salary in 2010. The move allowed the Panthers to avoid a huge long-term salary cap hit in case something like this happened once again.
Omar Gaither replaced Davis on Sunday, but Rivera wouldn't say who'll start this week against Jacksonville. Along with Gaither, the Panthers have other options, including Jason Williams, Thomas Williams and Jordan Senn.
"Somebody is going to have to step up, one of those four guys," Rivera said. "This may be a situation where it may be by committee."
Said Thomas Williams: "T.D. is a tremendous leader on this football, both physical and vocal. He makes plays. Just like Jon Beason, he's part of the backbone of this football team on the defensive side of the ball. But we'll continue to grow and the next man has to step up."
Veteran offensive tackle Jordan Gross called the news terrible.
"Three on the same ligament is just terrible luck," Gross said. "He's a guy who works so hard and has been on the straight and narrow, on and off the field. A team leader and team captain. It's just bad."
Carolina claimed linebacker Jason Phillips off waivers from Baltimore on Monday. A fifth-round pick in 2009, Phillips played in nine games last season with five tackles last season with the Ravens.