CHARLOTTE - The Panthers have placed starting cornerback Captain Munnerlyn on injured reserve with a left hamstring injury.
Munnerlyn, who suffered the injury in last Sunday's game at Houston, becomes the team-record 17th player placed on injured reserve this season. He's also the fifth defensive starter shelved, a number that doesn't even include defensive tackle Ron Edwards - a projected starter who suffered a season-ending triceps injury early in training camp.
Darius Butler, who missed the Texans game with a concussion, is expected to start at cornerback when the Panthers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday. Butler practiced all week and is listed as probable on the injury report.
Munnerlyn, a third-year pro out of the University of South Carolina, was in his first season as a full-time starter. He recorded a career-high 55 tackles, the first two sacks of his career, seven passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
The Panthers filled Munnerlyn's spot on the 53-man roster by signing rookie safety Jonathan Nelson off their practice squad. Originally a seventh-round draft choice from Oklahoma by St. Louis, Nelson began the season on the Rams' practice squad before joining Carolina's practice squad on Nov. 16. He could see action against the Buccaneers since safety Charles Godfrey didn't practice all week and is doubtful with a shoulder injury.