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Panthers place DT Kemoeatu on season-ending injured reserve

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The Carolina Panthers placed starting defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu on injured reserve Wednesday, ending his season on the same day that he underwent surgery on his torn right Achilles' tendon.

The Panthers replaced Kemoeatu on their 80-man roster with undrafted rookie George Hypolite.

Kemoeatu was injured just minutes into Carolina's first training-camp practice Monday. Kemoeatu said Tuesday that he was holding out hope of returning for the last month of the season, but the Panthers couldn't hold a roster spot that long.

"It was kind of expected," Panthers coach John Fox said of the decision to put Kemoeatu on injured reserve. "Usually an Achilles' rupture is that kind of injury. I think the surgery went well, and we'll start the rehab process."

Hypolite, a 6-foot-1, 290-pounder who played at Colorado, was waived by the Jacksonville Jaguars last month. He was on the field, wearing No. 75, for Carolina's second practice Wednesday.

The Panthers likely will continue to look for help at defensive tackle, where they had little depth even before Kemoeatu's injury.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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