When Plant RB/DE James Wilder Jr. hobbled off the field in the second quarter of the Panthers’ 17-0 loss to Armwood on Friday night, Dads Stadium took a collective gasp.
It’s still unclear how bad the five-star recruit and Florida State commit’s left ankle injury is, but Plant coach Robert Weiner is optimistic, saying by text message Tuesday he doesn’t believe it’s serious.
Weiner said they will have answers Wednesday. Wilder is scheduled to have an MRI today and it will likely be read by doctors Wednesday morning.
Wilder, ranked the No. 3 prospect in the nation by Rivals.com, said after Friday’s game that he has never hurt that ankle before and believed he’d be able to return to the Panthers’ lineup Friday for a district game against Gaither. He also said he tried to sneak back onto the field twice against Armwood but Weiner made him take off his pads so he wouldn't return and worsen the injury.
Despite rushing for just 34 yards on seven carries against Armwood, Wilder is still averaging 100 yards a game (68 rushes, 502 yards, six TDs) and has been the focal point of the Panthers’ offense.
If he can’t play, the Panthers (3-2) will likely lean on 5-foot-9 senior running back Calvin Mann, who has 209 yards on 25 carries (8.4 yards per carry).
-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @EddieHometeam)