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Panthers QB Delhomme to undergo season-ending elbow surgery

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme will miss the rest of the season after deciding to undergo surgery on his right elbow.

Coach John Fox said Delhomme, who was injured two weeks ago, had trouble throwing the ball early Monday, a day after he briefly threw on the side while sitting out Carolina's win over New Orleans.

"I think (Sunday) he was just trying to see how it felt," Fox said. "Today he really pushed it and experienced some of the same discomfort he had during the Atlanta game."

Delhomme then made the decision to have surgery next week. He's expected to recover in time for the start of next season.

"Anytime you lose your starting quarterback it's a blow," Fox said. "Jake was playing very well. I think that's pretty well documented. He's not only our starting quarterback, but what he brings to our football team will be missed."

The move leaves the Panthers (3-2) in need of another quarterback. Backup David Carr, signed in the offseason, suffered a back injury against the Saints on Sunday and his status for next week's game at Arizona is uncertain.

"David is definitely sore," Fox said. "He's still being evaluated."

The only other QB on the roster is undrafted rookie Matt Moore, who completed a 43-yard pass against the Saints while briefly subbing for Carr. Quinton Porter was signed two weeks ago to the practice squad.

"We obviously know we're going to be doing something," Fox said of signing another quarterback. "But what that is hasn't been hashed out yet."

Delhomme sustained what the team called a strained right elbow when he was sacked by John Abraham in Carolina's win over Atlanta on Sept. 23. Delhomme stayed in the game until the next series, when he winced in pain and clutched his elbow after throwing a short pass to fullback Brad Hoover.

Carr replaced him, then started the next two games when Delhomme was listed as the No. 3 quarterback.

Before the injury, Delhomme was off to a quick start. After struggling last season, he completed 64 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and one interception in the first three games. His passer rating was 111.9.

As early as last week, Delhomme talked of being hopeful he could avoid surgery. But the pain he experienced Monday made the decision for him.

"Jake is very honest and forthright, a very tough individual," Fox said. "But when you don't have your fastball, it's tough."

Delhomme became Carolina's long-term starter after humble beginnings. He played two seasons in NFL Europe and spent four season as a backup in New Orleans.

But he was signed by Carolina before the 2003 season, then replaced an ineffective Rodney Peete at halftime of the opener. He led Carolina to a comeback win, and remained the starter through the run to the Super Bowl.

The 32-year-old Delhomme, who made the Pro Bowl two years later, started a team-record 60 straight games before missing two games late last season with ligament damage in his thumb.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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