Things could get worse for the Panthers

It appears what has been a dismal season for the Carolina Panthers might get worse.

Linebacker Jon Beason, the team’s unquestioned defensive leader, said he likely will be placed on injured reserve for the second straight season.

Beason has been bothered by a knee injury in recent weeks. He missed all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon.

Beason said he had a recent MRI on his knee and it may require surgery, which would end his season.

Rookie Luke Kuechly opened the season as an outside linebacker, but has moved to the middle with Beason banged up in recent weeks. If Beason is out for the season, the Panthers likely will keep Kuechly in the middle and use Thomas Davis and James Anderson as their outside linebackers.

The Panthers already have put cornerback Chris Gamble and center Ryan Kalil on injured reserve.