CHARLOTTE – Amini Silatolu, who filled in admirably as the Panthers' starting left guard the last two games, will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament in Sunday's victory over Washington.
"The guy was playing very well for us and had done some really good things," head coach Ron Rivera said. "It was just one of those freak things. He went down on a block and somebody hit him in the front of the leg, and it just locked down on him. It's just one of those unfortunate things."
The fortunate thing for the Panthers is that starting guard Andrew Norwell is expected to be back in action when Carolina visits the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Norwell missed the last two games with a hamstring injury.
"We had kind of targeted this game. We're just very fortunate that the timing worked out for us," Rivera said. "We also feel very fortunate that we've got a good group of backups. We feel positive about our guys."
When Norwell went down Week 9 against Green Bay, Chris Scott first and then Silatolu relieved him. Scott took over for Silatolu on Sunday, and Rivera said rookie Daryl Williams – the Panthers' top backup at tackle – got some reps at right guard.
"He looked pretty good out there," Rivera said. "We're going to move some guys around and fill some holes. We should be fine with that."
This will mark the fourth consecutive season that Silatolu, a second-round draft choice in 2012, will see his season end prematurely. It wasn't that big of a blow as a rookie, when he started the first 15 games at left guard before suffering a dislocated wrist, but the last three seasons have ended earlier.
In 2013, Silatolu suffered a torn right ACL after making three starts, and last season he started seven games but a strained calf sidelined him for three games and then a knee injury cost him the last six games of the regular season and the playoffs.
Since playing the first 15 games of his career, he's appeared in 19 of 43 regular season games. The good news is that in his first significant playing time in a year, Silatolu showed that when healthy he can make a positive impact.
"I'm disappointed for him," Rivera said, "but I know he'll get himself right, get himself ready to roll."
The Panthers made a move related to their practice squad Monday, signing defensive back Ras-I Dowling and terminating guard Reese Dismukes.
Dowling, a second-round draft pick by the New England Patriots out of Virginia in 2011, has experience at cornerback and safety but is expected to play corner for the Panthers. After starting his first two career games and playing in a total of nine games with the Patriots over two seasons, Dowling spent 10 games on the New York Jets' practice squad in 2013 and 13 games on Oakland's practice squad in 2014 before playing in the final three games.
Also Monday, the Panthers waived offensive tackle Davonte Wallace from injured reserve. A second-year pro from New Mexico State, Wallace suffered a concussion early in training camp and was placed on IR on Sept. 2.