Thomas Davis vowed to be ready for Super Bowl 50 despite breaking his arm in the NFC title game. On Monday morning, he took the first step toward fulfilling that promise.
Davis was in surgery roughly 10 hours after the Panthers punched their ticket to the big game, according to an Instagram post by his wife, Kelly.
“My understanding is if everything goes well, it is something he can mostly certainly play with, so we are excited about that possibility,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Monday.
He said Davis will likely have to wear a brace on the arm if he does indeed play.
“He’s in recovery, doing well,” Rivera said. “The doctors feel real comfortable about it and we’ll see how he is once he gets here [Tuesday] and the trainers get a chance to look at it.”
The 11-year veteran, who is believed to be the first NFL player to overcome three ACL surgeries on the same knee and return to the field and do so at a Pro Bowl level, injured his arm in the second quarter of Sunday’s win over the Cardinals. He spent the rest of the game on the sideline with his wrist heavily wrapped and his arm in a sling.
“I’ll be back, I’ll be ready to go, I can guarantee that,” Davis told reporters after the game Sunday. “I’m not missing the Super Bowl . . . We’ll get it figured out, and I’ll be ready in two weeks.”
The Panthers did not release any specifics on the injury other than that it is a fracture of some kind. Having surgery Monday could allow Davis to play in the Super Bowl against the Broncos on Feb. 7.
“I know it sounds crazy, but I expect [Davis] to play well in Super Bowl 50,” wrote Dr. David Chao, a former team physician for the Chargers who now provides real-time sports medical analysis on social media. Chao added that he has had two players come back from similar injuries in two weeks’ time.
Chao said he suspects Davis will have a plate and screws inserted into his forearm.
“[Davis] is already a legend coming back from 3 ACL tears,” he posted. “The forearm fracture will be the easier recovery.”
Easier, but will it be quick enough for him to play in the biggest game of his life? Rivera thinks so.
“I don’t doubt any word he says,” Rivera said. “If he says he will be ready, I know he will be ready.”
An official determination on Davis’ availability likely won’t come until next week. The Panthers got some good news on other injured players and should be relatively healthy when they leave for California on Sunday.
Safety Roman Harper suffered an eye injury against the Cardinals and visited a doctor Monday and fullback Mike Tolbert injured a knee and should be fine.
Even Jared Allen, who was scratched from the NFC Championship Game with a broken bone in his foot, is expected to play against the Broncos.
“I’m excited for the fact he’s got two weeks to get ready and prove to me he’s ready to roll, which I believe he will, knowing him,” Rivera said. “He probably could have played Sunday.”