CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Steve Smith, the Carolina Panthers' all-time leading receiver, suffered a knee injury in the first quarter of Sunday's NFC South showdown against the New Orleans Saints and did not return to the game.
Despite Smith's injury, the Panthers defeated the Saints 17-13 to clinch a playoff spot and can seal the NFC South division title with a victory next Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
Smith went down untouched after quarterback Cam Newton missed him on a third-down slant pass. Smith laid on the field in obvious pain for several minutes before walking off under his own power.
After being checked on the sidelines, Smith was taken the locker room, where it was determined he had a left knee injury.
Smith made one attempt to return to the game but was taken back to the locker room, where he was ruled out.
Smith came into the game tied for the team lead in receptions with 63.