Rose Bowl-winning USC QB Sam Darnold finally receives injury timeline

Sam Darnold, USC Football, USC Trojans
Sam Darnold, USC Football, USC Trojans / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Former legendary USC Football QB Sam Darnold suffered a high ankle sprain in his preseason game for the Carolina Panthers on Friday against the Buffalo Bills. Darnold was not named the starting QB for the Panthers this year--making it the first year of his soon-to-be five-year NFL career where he isn't the starter, but he's still very important as the backup for Carolina.

The Panthers' third-string QB Matt Corral is out for the season, and without Darnold the Panthers would be down to just Baker Mayfield as the starter and P.J. Walker as the backup. Matt Rhule told the media on Monday that "we anticipate (the injury recovery time) being at least four weeks."

A high ankle sprain recovery is typically four to six weeks long, so Darnold will indeed likely miss four weeks, but hopefully no longer than six. Rhule also told the media that Darnold was going to get more testing performed on Monday and therefore would hopefully have more specifics on that by Tuesday at the latest.

Former USC Football QB Sam Darnold has two weeks until the NFL season starts.

So, let's say the ex-USC football gunslinger Sam Darnold misses the full six weeks. It would only be the first four games of the season. He'll be out six weeks, but would only miss four games. And then of course, if the minimum recovery time for the injury ends up being four weeks, then he'd only miss two games.

Besides, the Panthers just traded for Mayfield this offseason to try to be aggressive. Even if he struggles early, they'd probably want to keep him in as the starter for the first three or four weeks anyways, just to try their best to give their new investment as much time as possible. The biggest issue would come if Mayfield gets hurt, as that's when they'd need Darnold the most.

Power ranking every Pete Carroll team. dark. Next

For now, the backup will be Walker, who has completed just 55.7% of his 122 career passes and for only six yards per attempt. Posting 3.4 adjusted yards per attempt, the Panthers likely don't want to have to resort to Walker long-term if that comes up. He's thrown just two touchdown passes and eight interceptions in his career. Hence, Carolina most certainly hopes Darnold will be back soon.