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Time Out For Sports: Teddy Bridgewater Injury, NC High School Athletes Must Wear Masks And A South Carolina Native Wins The Masters

Teddy Bridgewater in Panthers game against Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Callena Williams
Carolina Panthers
Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater reaches for a down as the Buccaneers Jason Pierre-Paul approaches.

The Carolina Panthers lost their fifth straight game on Sunday and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was injured. Masks have to be worn at all times for indoor high school sports. And a South Carolina native wins the Masters. Joining WFAE's "All Things Considered" host Gwendolyn Glenn is longtime Charlotte Observer sportswriter Langston Wertz Jr.

Langston Wertz Jr. : How are you?

Gwendolyn Glenn : All is well. But not a good outcome for the Panthers on Sunday. They started off good, tied at the half and then in that second quarter they went downhill. Tell us about it, Langston.

Langston Wertz Jr, a longtime sportswriter for the Charlotte Observer.
Langston Wertz Jr.

Wertz : Tom Brady led his team to five-plus yards of offensive five touchdowns, and it was tied at halftime. But the third quarter, things just went down with the Panthers. They gave up a 98-yard run. A fake punt didn't work. They gave up touchdowns. The only thing that really kept this from being worse, was Brady missed a couple of passes over the top for big touchdowns. Would've added 14-21 more points.

Glenn: And as you said, they lost 46-23 to Tampa Bay.

Wertz: Yeah. I mean, Sunday was really bad. I mean, the Panthers were cursing each other out in the locker room. It was it was a bad loss for them. They lost by the most points all season and they didn't give a good effort in the second half. I mean, I think all season long they've been giving really good efforts. But yesterday, the effort didn't seem to be there.

Glenn: Well, let's go to that fourth quarter and Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater getting injured.

Wertz: Yeah, it was tough. Jason Pierre-Paul, who had intercepted Bridgewater in the third quarter, tackled him from behind. He hit him right along that right leg with his shoulder pad right around the knee level. The left knee, of course, is the knee he had surgically repaired, but he injured his right knee. He limped off the field and he limped back to the locker room. And I guess we'll find out at some point, hopefully, today or tomorrow what the extent of his injury is.

Glenn: How good do you think the backup is?

Wertz: PJ Walker is the backup. He's a smaller quarterback, more of a running-type guy. He's not Teddy Bridgewater. And I'm not sure if Teddy Bridgewater is the quarterback for the future for this team. So it's really going to be tough sledding if they don't have Bridgewater.

Glenn: And do you think they should bring him back? Because, I mean, right now, what are the Panthers 3-7? Should they bring him back?

Wertz: I don't know. It's tough when you're losing and it doesn't look like there's any future in the COVID-19 times. So I might be inclined to not play him unless he's really healthy.

Glenn: And what about Christian McCaffrey? How is he doing injury-wise? And do you feel the same way about him in terms of them bringing him back and risking him getting injured?

Wertz: Almost seems like a lost year for Christian McCaffrey. You know, you want your star player, who you just paid a gazillion dollars to, to become 100% healthy. You don't want to become a situation where he gets a little injured here, and a little injured in the next year and it kind of becomes a Cam Newton type of thing. So in a year, the Panthers aren't going anywhere, it may be good to sit McCaffrey as well.

Glenn: OK, well, let's move to the NBA draft, it's Wednesday, and former West Charlotte high player Patrick Williams is expected to be a high pick. What's the 411 there?

Wertz: You know, that's crazy. I mean, literally two years ago, he was leading this team to the state championship game. He goes to Florida State. He's the sixth man of the year in the ACC. And now Gwen, he can be a top ten lottery pick.

Glenn: Well, switching to high school sports, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association this week ordered masks for indoor sports. Tell us how they were operating and what specifically will change under this ruling.

Wertz : Well, up until this week, the state public schools could only have practice or workouts. They couldn't even have practice. Volleyball and cross country were the first two to begin practice. And they started Nov. 4.

On Friday, the rumblings came out they were going to start making all indoor athletes — whether you're working out, practicing or playing — to wear masks, and volleyball will actually have to wear masks beginning Monday while they play games. And in basketball, anybody else who's working out indoors has to wear masks. And we don't know if this is going to extend to other sports.

I spoke to a volleyball player at Ardrey Kell, who may be the best in the city, and they actually started wearing a mask last week during practice to get ready. And she was like, you know, it's really difficult because the mask it gets wet and it gets sweaty and it's hard to breathe. So I think that's going to be an issue moving forward with the mask.

Glenn: And of course, the Masters was played this weekend. So 36-year-old Dustin Johnson ranked number one golfer in the world as a native of Columbia, South Carolina, and graduate of Coastal Carolina, where he played golf. Give us some highlights of his win.

Wertz: Dustin went nuts this past weekend. He shot a 20-under, which set a record for lowest score ever at the Masters. Broke Jordan Speith and Tiger Woods' records. He grew up an hour from the golf course, led Dutch Fork High School to the 2002 state championship. He finished fourth in that tournament individually, and he dreamt as a kid of winning the Masters. And he said he dreamt of Tiger Woods putting the green jacket on him — and lo and behold, Sunday, he won the Masters and Tiger Woods put the green jacket on him.

And Dustin is always kind of been seen almost as a golf robot. You know, he's this big guy 6-4, phenomenal athlete. Hits the ball 8,000 miles and never shows any emotion. He was genuinely choked up after winning that, he could barely form words. That's how much it meant to him.

Langston Wertz Jr. Is a veteran sportswriter for The Charlotte Observer