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Panthers LB Beason scheduled for MRI on injured Achilles

The Panthers could be without star linebacker Jon Beason for the rest of the season.

That according to The Gaston Gazette, which reported Sunday that the team fears Beason tore his left Achilles' tendon in Carolina's 28-21 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday.

Beason will undergo an MRI exam to confirm the extent of the damage. Panthers coach Ron Rivera hinted at the severity of the injury on Sunday, calling Beason's situation "dire."

The injury occurred while Beason was attempting to chase down Arizona tight end Jeff King on a 48-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. Beason collapsed to the ground and was carted off to the locker room.

Teammates, perhaps bracing for the worst, spoke of Beason with respect after the game.

"I'm just happy and honored to be on this team because we had guys out there that were blowing out tires to fight," wide receiver Steve Smith said of Beason. "It doesn't get any better than that. You don't get guys in the locker room like that. It rarely comes and when you have a guy who does that you surely miss him, but he's admirable for his effort and I'm honored and pleased to be his teammate."

Beason has had issues with his left leg in the last several months leading up to Sunday's season opener. The three-time Pro Bowler was originally diagnosed with Achilles tendinitis, which was later revealed to be inflammation of the bone. Beason then had three screws inserted in his foot on Aug. 22.

A first-round selection in the 2007 NFL Draft, Beason has started 65 consecutive games. The Charlotte Observer reported that his foot started bothering him in May during training in Miami during the lockout.

Beason recently signed a five-year extension with the Panthers worth more than $50 million. Half that money is guaranteed.

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