CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Carolina rookie wide receiver Curtis Samuel is done for the year. The Panthers announced Tuedsay that he will undergo season-ending surgery on his left ankle and will be placed on injured reserve.
That means Carolina (7-3) will be looking for a new starting wide receiver heading into the bye week.
Samuel injured his ankle in the third quarter of Carolina’s 45-21 win over the Miami Dolphins on Monday night when a defensive player rolled over his ankle in the end zone. The team didn’t release the specific injury to Samuel’s ankle.
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Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula wouldn’t say who would replace Samuel in the starting lineup.
”It’s probably going to be by committee,” Shula added. ”One of the best things that happened (Monday) night after Curtis (got injured) is we didn’t really feel like we missed a beat. Guys coming in and doing their jobs and knowing their assignments.”
The Panthers traded starting wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin two weeks ago to Buffalo in an effort to get more speed on the field. Carolina’s offense has excelled since then, racking up a franchise record 548 yards and 30 first downs against Miami.
Samuel had five catches for 45 yards against the Dolphins, but did drop a touchdown pass on the play in which he was hurt.
”Is there anybody as fast as him? There’s some guys on the team that would say yeah,” Shula said. ”We’re going to try hard to find ways to put guys in place with what they do best, and have them go do it.”
Russell Shepard would be one likely candidate to replace Samuel, but Kaelin Clay and Brenton Bersin could also see increased action. Wide receiver Damiere Byrd is eligible to return Dec. 3 from injured reserve.
The Panthers are also expected to get three-time Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen back after the bye week. Olsen has been on injured reserve with a foot injury, but is eligible to return and play against the Jets on Nov. 26.
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