Panthers, Saints team doctors friends through Orthocarolina sports medicine fellowship

NEW ORLEANS, LA — Star tight end Greg Olsen is back on the playing field for the Panthers, and he has the Panthers' medical staff to thank for his recovery.

Olsen missed both games against the New Orleans Saints this season while recovering from a broken foot.

He will play Sunday in the Panthers playoff game in New Orleans.

The Panthers have two head doctors to handle players' injuries.

Doctor Pat Connor specializes in orthopedics. He's the doctor who repaired Cam Newton’s shoulder in March

Connor, an orthopedic surgeon, leads the medical team, and is tasked with keeping the Panthers healthy during the long and physical NFL season.

“My area of expertise in orthopedics is knees, shoulders and elbows, but if somebody has a hand and wrist injury, then I get my partner, who is an expert,” Connor said.

Connor is also a teacher. He and his team lead a sports medicine fellowship at Orthocarolina that’s among the most respected in the country.

“It’s the last step before you go out on your own in practice,” Connor said.

The fellowship has produced several NFL team doctors, including Chip Bankston, the team doctor for the New Orleans Saints.

“He and I talk a lot on the phone,” Connor said. “If something comes up, he knows that I'm the old man with a little bit of experience, so he likes to lean on me a little bit for some questions here or there.”

Connor says Bankston is “one of the most talented fellows to come through Charlotte.”

“The Saints are lucky to have him and we were lucky to have him for a year,” Connor said.

Unlike the teams, there is no rivalry between Connor and Bankston

Connor said they share information with each other and other team doctors.