Charles Johnson injury: Panthers DE to miss game vs. Buccaneers

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina will be without their top pass rusher on Sunday.

Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson will miss Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneersaccording to Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer.

Johnson sustained a sprained MCL on Monday Night Football against the New England Patriots in Week 11 when offensive tackle Marcus Cannon used a leg whip to bring him down. Cannon was fined almost $16,000 for the illegal hit, and Johnson is now missing his second straight game.

Carolina beat the Miami in Week 12 without their top pass rusher, but the team was noticeably weaker -- especially in the first half. Rotational defensive end Mario Addison played well, however Johnson's absence allowed the offensive line to key on Greg Hardy, effectively removing the defense's pass rush.

Johnson has amassed 23 tackles, 8.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 10 games this season. The game on Sunday could determine the lead of the NFC South. A Carolina win paired with a New Orleans loss to Seattle would flip the top of the division.

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