New York Giants kicker Graham Gano says Carolina Panthers put career in jeopardy with 2018 injury misdiagnosis

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- New York Giants kicker Graham Gano said the Carolina Panthers put his career in jeopardy with a misdiagnosis of a 2018 injury, according to a report by The Athletic.

Gano, who will play his former team on Sunday, said Carolina's medical and training staff "100 percent'' misdiagnosed a leg injury that cost him the 2019 season.

"I was told initially it was tendinitis and a bone bruise, and it was actually a lot more than that, which we knew for a while,'' Gano told The Athletic. "I was treating it and I came back and had the same injury -- actually worse than before.

"It was a mess.''

Gano said the actual injury was a fractured femur in his left [non-kicking] leg. He played in one game with the break in 2018 before eventually going on injured reserve the final four games of that season.

Gano blamed the injury on constantly kicking in bad weather that season, saying his plant leg was "sinking into the ground.''

"I went to training camp the next year, they were telling me it was fine,'' he told The Athletic. "I reinjured it. They were telling me it was still fine. Obviously, it was not. So I had the surgery, and it went from them telling me there was nothing wrong with my leg to I need a major surgery.

"So that was a quick flip.''

Gano missed the 2019 season after the surgery. He claimed that if he had the procedure the year before he wouldn't have missed that year.

Team trainer Ryan Vermillion and the medical staff left after the 2019 season to join coach Ron Rivera in Washington. Vermillion recently was placed on administrative leave by Washington with the federal government looking into alleged prescription drug offenses.

Team doctor Pat Connor has since resigned.

The Panthers declined to comment on Gano's claim. Current coach Matt Rhule said he had no knowledge of the claim, calling Gano an "unbelievable person.''

The Panthers released Gano in 2020 for financial reasons. He was set to count about $3 million against the cap that year.