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Panthers' Davis, Beason optimistic after season-ending injuries

Every time Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis steps inside the training facility at Bank of America Stadium, there's one thing on his mind: Making history.

Davis tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in Week 2 of the 2011 season for a third time in just a 23-month span, and Panthers trainer Ryan Vermillion recently told the Charlotte Observer that no player in NFL history has come back from three ACL surgeries on the same knee.

It's Davis' goal to become the first.

"Every day I go in I'm looking at it like I'm making history. That's my goal," Davis told the Observer. "From now on when you see certain things happen to guys, certain injuries, there will be more teams that will be more willing to give guys opportunities based on a guy they can point out, 'Look at Thomas Davis down in Carolina. He came back from three to the same knee and he's able to play, and he's playing at a high level.' "

Davis' most recent operation was performed by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews. The Observer reported Andrews rebuilt Davis' ACL by using the patellar tendon from his left knee.

"The knee is solid as a rock," Davis said. "Those were (Andrews') words."

Davis isn't the only Panthers linebacker spending his days rehabbing a season-ending injury. All-Pro Jon Beason tore his Achilles' tendon during the 2011 season opener and told the Observer he's aiming to return to the field for the Panthers' summer-school practices in June.

The return of Beason and Davis, if the Panthers elect to bring him back, would be a boost for a defense that set franchise records in points, yards and passing yards allowed last season.

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