Panthers fullback Tolbert to miss at least 8 games

Carolina Panthers' Mike Tolbert (35) is helped off the field after being injured during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. The Steelers won 37-19. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Mike McCarn

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Panthers All-Pro fullback Mike Tolbert will miss at least eight games with a hairline fracture in his left leg.

Tolbert was placed on the injured reserve/designated to return list Tuesday. Under that designation, Tolbert can practice after six weeks, but isn't eligible to play until Nov. 30 at Minnesota.

The bruising fullback was injured on a tackle involving ex-Panthers safety Mike Mitchell in Carolina's 37-19 loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday night.

Tolbert had seven rushing touchdowns last season.

Carolina signed linebacker D.J. Smith to fill Tolbert's roster spot.

The 6-foot, 240-pound Smith attended training camp with the Panthers and was on their practice squad before being released on Sept. 3. Smith has played in 23 games with nine starts. Smith has 80 career tackles, two sacks and one interception.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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