The Panthers have placed running back Mike Tolbert on the injured reserve list with the designation to return, the team announced today (Twitter link). As we heard yesterday, Tolbert suffered a hairline fracture and bone bruise in Sunday’s loss to the Steelers, and now won’t be eligible to return to game action for eight weeks.
Linebacker D.J. Smith will take Tolbert’s spot on the 53-man roster, according to the team. Smith, who worked out for the Patriots a few days ago, was with the Panthers in camp and started the season on the club’s practice squad. As Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer notes (via Twitter), the fact that Carolina signed Smith instead of a running back suggests there’s some concern about the status of linebacker Thomas Davis.
While the Panthers didn’t replace Tolbert with a running back for now, the team may have to make another move to shore up the backfield before this weekend. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are also banged up, which prompted the team to promote Darrin Reaves to the 53-man roster this past weekend. The Panthers have another back on the practice squad, in Lache Seastrunk, so he could be a candidate for promotion depending on the health of Williams and Stewart.