CHARLOTTE, N.C. — All-Pro linebacker Thomas Davis had surgery Monday morning on his broken right forearm, but is expected to play in the Super Bowl on Feb. 7.
“My understanding is if everything goes well it is something he can mostly certainly play with,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “So we are excited about that possibility.”
Rivera did not know which forearm bone Davis broke.
He said the 11-year NFL veteran may need to wear a brace on his arm similar to the one worn by New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Davis broke his arm in the second quarter of Carolina’s 49-15 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game. Davis said after the game he fully expected to play in the Super Bowl in about two weeks.
Rivera said if anybody can play through the pain, it would be Davis, who has battled back from three torn ACLs in the same knee to play at an All-Pro level.
“He said [he was going to play] with the same type of sincerity he said to me when he told me he was coming back from the third ACL,” Rivera said. “There is something about his conviction and I think that’s what makes him who he is today. So I have no doubt that as long as everything continues to heal the way it’s supposed to, he’ll be out there.”
Davis’ wife posted an Instagram photo of her husband wearing a hospital shower cap on Monday and thanked well-wishers.
Davis said after the game he planned to play in the Super Bowl.
“It hurt. It was painful,” Davis said. “At the same time I believe in our training staff and I believe in the process. If it is at all possible I know they are going to get me back and I will do my part to make sure I’m ready.”
Davis was dominant early in the NFC title game recording six tackles, including two for losses. He had several jarring hits that set the tone for the Panthers to build a 17-0 lead.
But he broke his forearm while trying to break up a pass in the second quarter and was taken to the locker room for observations. He returned to the sideline in the second half wearing a sling on his right arm.
Even without Davis, the Panthers managed to finish the game with seven takeaways — six of those on defense. They forced Carson Palmer into four interceptions and forced two fumbles in an impressive defensive performance.
When asked what makes him believe he can play with a broken arm, Davis replied, “I believe in me.”
“This is something that if it comes down to a pain tolerance and playing through it, I will be there. I guarantee to you.”
Davis’ teammates praised his toughness and said it’s hard to imagine anyone trying to tell him he couldn’t play in his first Super Bowl after spending his entire career trying to reach this pinnacle.
“I don’t put it past Thomas playing,” defensive tackle Kawann Short said. “Three ACLs, broken fingers. It hasn’t stopped him before. I think they will have to take all of his jerseys away – all five of them, and even the ones at home.”
Rivera said safety Roman Harper is scheduled to see an eye doctor soon after being forced to leave the game on Sunday. The fifth-year coach said he won’t have any more information on his status until after the meeting.
The coach also said All-Pro center Ryan Kalil’s knee is “fine” after leaving two series in the first half Sunday. Kalil returned in the second half to finish the game. — AP