Critical injuries could limit Panthers

Add another Panthers RB to the injury report this week. Head Coach John Fox added RB Nick Goings to the injury report this afternoon with an ankle injury. Fox wouldn't elaborate on which ankle or what is wrong with it, but that's common for John Fox to only give as little info as necessary per NFL rules.

Goings did not practice today, and might not practice the rest of the week as the team will transition from practicing on regular grass to their field turf field as they get ready for the artificial turf in Atlanta.

Goings is the second Panthers RB that has landed on the injury list this week. Earlier in the week, Panthers RB DeShaun Foster missed time with a toe injury, and is listed as questionable – something that surprised even Foster himself.

"I'm good. I'll be ready," said Foster. "It's nothing at all. I just jammed my toe."

The starting RB has a toe injury, and the backup has an ankle problem. That's not something that bodes well going into the Georgia Dome (a place where the Panthers have only won once -- ever) with your playoff aspirations hanging in the balance. Those injuries push RB's Rod Smart and Jamal Robertson, who have a combined total of 7 yards rushing this season, into the lime-light.

To make matters worse, starting right guard Tutan Reyes is questionable with an ankle injury he suffered last week against Dallas, and starting center Jeff Mitchell was downgraded from probable to questionable with a hip injury.

Those injuries are huge, because the Panthers like to try to run the ball up the middle, but with two-thirds of the interior line banged-up, that would seem to be an arduous task. Mitchell hasn't performed as well this season as he has in the past, and Reyes has been average at best when healthy. The Panthers have the second-worst rushing attack in the league presently, averaging only 3.2 yards per carry. It only figures to get worse if those two can't go on Sunday or try to play injured.

"We'd love to be able to establish the run and be efficient in the passing game to let our defense rest," Panthers QB Jake Delhomme said. "I think that's at a premium this week, because when Vick is on the field, he can do some very good things."

It's going to be important to run, Jake, but I don't know if it's gonna happen.

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