By Danny Cox
The Carolina Panthers are just two victories away from a trip to the Super Bowl, but they’re going to have to get past the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks this weekend. Luckily, they have a very short injury report after this week of practice, but one of the names on it is a big one and the Panthers will have to find some way to compensate.
Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei is the only player listed as out for this week, but it looks as if he will be out for any games that the Panthers play the rest of this season. The second-year nose tackle was injured at practice on Tuesday and he didn’t show up at Wednesday’s practice – or Thursday or Friday, either.
Further tests revealed that Lotulelei fractured his foot on Tuesday and he’s definitely out for the Seattle game, and possibly the rest of the playoffs.
“Star will not play this week,” coach Ron Rivera said in a conference call. “He broke a small bone in his foot, and he had surgery this morning to repair it. It’s one of those things that hopefully we get the opportunity to move on [in the playoffs], and if we do, he’ll get to play.”
Colin Cole will start in Lotulelei’s place with Kyle Love being activated so he can take a place in the four-man rotation. It’s also possible that rookie defensive end Kony Ealy will be able to slide inside to play tackle as needed.
Wide receiver Philly Brown did not practice on Wednesday and was limited both Thursday and Friday with a shoulder injury. As of now, the Panthers have him listed as day-to-day. They will reassess his condition and status on Saturday morning.
Three more defensive players make out the full injury report for the Panthers. Linebacker A.J. Klein (ankle) and cornerback Melvin White (ankle) were slowed earlier in the week, but they were able to practice fully on both Thursday and Friday. They’re listed as questionable, but should be ready to play against Seattle.
Safety Thomas Decoud has a hamstring injury that limited him in practice the entire week, and he’s also being seen as day-to-day. Carolina will take another look at his condition on Saturday morning to determine his full status.
Carolina isn’t dealing with a lot of injuries right now, but the loss of Lotulelei is huge and those taking over for him will have to step it up big time.
DT Star Lotulelei – Foot
WR Philly Brown – Shoulder
S Thomas DeCoud – Hamstring
LB A.J. Klein – Ankle
CB Melvin White – Ankle
For more Carolina Panthers news and updates, visit Carolina Panthers Central.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.