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Panthers place Ryan Kalil, Gino Gradkowski on IR

25 September 2016: Carolina Panthers center Ryan Kalil (67) in game action between the Minnesota Vikings and the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

The Carolina Panthers placed centers Ryan Kalil and Gino Gradkowski on injured reserve, the organization announced on Tuesday afternoon.

Kalil, who has earned five trips to the Pro Bowl, suffered a shoulder injury during Carolina’s Week 11 win over the New Orleans Saints. He was held back from making the team’s trip to Oakland last Sunday, in which the Panthers lost, 35-32.

Gradkowski, Kalil’s backup, had been nursing a knee injury. During the Raiders game, he was forced to make an early exit. The Panthers reverted to Tyler Larsen to give the snaps to Cam Newton.

With a couple of open spots on the roster, Carolina signed center Ryan Wendell and offensive tackle Dan France to perhaps fill voids on the offensive line. Starting right tackle Daryl Williams suffered an ankle injury versus Oakland, right guard Trai Turner moved to right tackle, and Chris Turner filled in for Turner.

Needless to say, the line has needed to be shuffled and there are a ton of guys out of position at the moment.

“When we started our offensive meeting, I had guys raise their hands who played positions that they hadn’t played before. We had a few guys up front doing it,” offensive coordinator Don Shula told the team site. “We’re going to look at different combinations.”

Carolina needs to get healthy in order to get back into the playoff hunt. Early-season struggles put the Panthers in a hole; and for a team that played in last season’s Super Bowl, this year hasn’t exactly gone the way head coach Ron Rivera had planned.

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