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Carolina Panthers

Injured reserve list grows to 12


CHARLOTTE – The Panthers could be on their way to setting a team record of which they want no part.

Carolina added running back Mike Goodson to injured reserve Wednesday, a list that is now 12 players deep. The dubious team record for most players on IR is 14, established in 2004 and matched in 2010.

The Panthers filled the spots on the 53-man roster left by Goodson and safety Jermale Hines – who was waived Tuesday – by promoting running back Josh Vaughan and linebacker Kion Wilson from the practice squad.

The Panthers have 10 or more players on IR for the ninth time in the franchise's 17 seasons. Carolina has never finished with a winning record when placing more than 10 players on IR.

By contrast, the team's five least painful seasons in terms of IR numbers have resulted in four playoff berths.
The injuries have come fast and furious, but first-year coach Ron Rivera refuses to get furious about the situation.

"You have to look at it as opportunity. If you're a young guy who wants to play in this league, here's your opportunity," Rivera said. "Look at (defensive end) Thomas Keiser. He did things the right way, just like Josh Vaughan and Kion Wilson. These guys practice hard and give us a great picture, and they do extra stuff.

"Thomas Keiser for nine weeks in a row, every time we did a walkthrough, afterwards he would run 100s. He was preparing, and we notice those things. So when it comes time to see who is going to get the next opportunity, his name was at the top of the list."

Keiser, an undrafted rookie out of Stanford, had two tackles – including a tackle for loss – in his NFL debut last Sunday against Tennessee. He also helped on special teams, a trouble spot of late where Rivera believes Wilson could help as well.

In three games last season with San Diego, where Rivera was defensive coordinator, Wilson collected five tackles and one forced fumble on special teams before being place on injured reserve.

"He was an inside linebacker for us, a stout, physical player that moves well and is athletic enough that he should be able to help us on special teams," Rivera said. "He was having a good special teams season for us last year in San Diego until he sprained his ankle and tore some ligaments. I think he can help us."

Vaughan has helped the Panthers before. He played in his first three NFL games last season, scoring a rushing touchdown in Week 9 at Tampa Bay.


In that same game, Goodson became the first Carolina running back in 2010 to rush for 100 yards. Goodson looked to be on the verge of again helping this year's team – at least on special teams - before he suffered a hamstring injury in practice last week that Rivera said Wednesday would prevent him from running for at least three weeks.

Goodson enjoyed a solid 2010 season but never really got off the ground in 2011. He played in the first four games, making one catch for 4 yards and returning 11 kicks for 250 yards, but had been inactive since.

Last year, with running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart missing time with injuries, Goodson ranked second on the team in rushing (452 yards) and receptions (40) while also leading the team in kickoff return average (21.8).

The latest series of moves left Carolina with two empty spots on its eight-man practice squad. The Panthers filled one with Jonathan Nelson, a rookie safety drafted in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams. Rivera said he'd like to bring Hines back for the other spot but would have to wait and see if he clears waivers.

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