Carolina Panthers place Mike Tolbert on IR-recall

The Carolina Panthers' dire backfield situation could extend beyond this week.

The team announced Tuesday it placed fullback back Mike Tolbert on the Injured Reserve-designated to return list after he suffered a hairline fracture in his right leg. Tolbert is eligible to return in Week 13 versus the Minnesota Vikings.

The Charlotte Observer reported Tolbert won't need surgery.

The Panthers' backfield is a mess.

Jonathan Stewart (knee) will be held out of practice most of this week, and coach Ron Rivera said the team would reevaluate Friday. DeAngelo Williams missed the past two games with a hamstring injury. The team is optimistic he'll play this week, but hamstrings are fickle beasts -- just ask Arian Foster.

The Panthers activated Darrin Reaves from the practice squad last week and might be forced to do the same with speedster Lache Seastrunk this week.

After being the backbone of the offense in 2013 and earning 100-plus yards in 14 of 16 games, the Panthers' rushing attack has been putrid through three weeks -- ranking 29th at just 72.3 yards per game.

The team signed linebacker D.J. Smith to take Tolbert's spot on the roster.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps all of the Week 3 action and picks the top team in the AFC.

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