Mike Tolbert to IR/Designated to Return List


Mike Tolbert has a hairline fracture of his left knee according to MRIs released today. Tolbert had already been declared out for the Baltimore game this Sunday, but now the Panthers have gone a step further and put him on the Injured Reserve/Designated to Return list. This means that Tolbert is out for about the next eight weeks of the season, coming back in time to play the Minnesota Vikings in week 13.

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Tolbert had been nicked up the past two games, but had otherwise been a healthy contributor to the Panthers ever since he joined the Panthers before last year. Richie Broeckel will pick up the starting fullback duties in the meantime.

Dec 1, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) passes as running back Jonathan Stewart (28) and tight end Richie Brockel (47) block and Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn (94) pressures in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers running game has been slow developing this season as the line has been working out its issues. Losing a strong body like Tolbert hurts a lot right now as the line needed that extra help and extra blocker. The Panthers will likely compensate by playing more one back sets except in power running situations. There also might be an increase in designed quarterback running plays or read option runs.

The Panthers have already made some roster moves to adjust. Tolbert’s spot was given to scout team linebacker DJ Smith, the Appalachian State alum, as insurance for linebacker Thomas Davis. Davis was also hurt in the Steelers game.

No results have been released from running back Jonathan Stewart’s MRI, but DeAngelo Williams is back on the active list and is the presumed starter going into Sunday’s game at the Ravens.