Ouch! Steve Smith broke his arm playing with adults

From the sounds of things, the Carolina Panthers are going to hope that Steve Smith’s broken left arm is healed before the Sept. 12 season opener and that the star wide receiver uses better judgment in the future.

Smith suffered the injury on Sunday and required surgery to insert a plate and two screws into an area not far from where he broke the same arm in a Week 16 meeting with the New York Giants last season. It’s two breaks in the same arm that has his availability for the start of the regular season in question and his availability for any of training camp in doubt.

But Smith wasn’t injured at his playing flag football at his annual youth football camp as reports circulating Monday morning first suggested. He was injured playing flag football in an adult league in Charlotte. Profootballtalk.com first reported the development Monday and the Charlotte Observer’s Darin Gantt tracked down additional details.

What’s in play here is the possibility that the Panthers could determine Smith has violated his contract, at least from their points of view. Standard NFL contracts include language that prevents players from participating in potentially dangerous activities. The Chicago Bears asked Brian Urlacher to stay out of the wrestling ring earlier in his career. But players are injured from time to time playing basketball. Is that a dangerous activity or a good form of exercise?

Per the report, ex-Panthers quarterback Josh McCown also played with Smith in the adult league, but told Gantt he wasn’t present Sunday and that he participated “grudgingly” at Smith’s request against non-professional athletes.

Smith contacted team officials immediately and was treated by the team’s medical staff. General manager Marty Hurney released a statement and didn't indicate he was upset with Smith, who will open training camp on the non-football injury list and will remain there until he can pass a physical. Gantt speculates the Panthers will not take any action against Smith, like trying to withhold game checks if he misses time in the regular season ($338,235 per game). The Panthers have next to no depth on their roster. The other receivers have 48 combined receptions in the NFL and 33 of those belong to Dwayne Jarrett, thus far a career underachiever.

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