Stanford grad Tyler Gaffney suffered a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee on Friday and will miss his first professional season with the Carolina Panthers.
Gaffney, who will undergo surgery, suffered the injury on his first play of practice at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
"It's disappointing because the young man is a solid football player," Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera told ESPN. "He has a history of being a workhorse. Unfortunately, in practice he got his knee in a bad position and something popped."
Gaffney had 330 carries for 1,709 yards last season at Stanford. In 486 carries in college he never had an injury.
"It was on a running play," Rivera said. "He ran a sweep coming out to our offensive left. He made a really nice cut. It was a bump and a little bit of a turn on the knee and he said he felt it pop."
He showed up at Wofford's Gibb's Stadium on Saturday night on crutches and in street clothes.
"We are a little bit thin," Rivera said. "We're going to find somebody to come in and replace him and give him an opportunity to have another body to compete for a position on this team."
Gaffney returned to Stanford for his senior season after missing a year playing professional baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and helped lead the Cardinal to the Rose Bowl.