According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Panthers reserve running back Fozzy Whittaker suffered a “mild high-ankle sprain” yesterday in Atlanta and won’t play in the regular season finale against the Buccaneers.
Whittaker was carted off yesterday, but the Panthers have already secured a bye week, so he’ll have some time to get well.
The Panthers appeared to be hoping to give Stewart the rest of the regular season off to have him 100 percent for the playoffs, after he suffered a foot injury two weeks ago against the Falcons. Coach Ron Rivera said that day he thought Stewart could have returned to the game if they weren’t so far ahead, but now it looks like they want to park him until the divisional round.
That would leave the Panthers with fifth-round pick Cameron Artis-Payne and undrafted Brandon Wegher behind fullback Mike Tolbert in the backfield for Week 17, the story said. It also added that with those two in the backfield, pass-protection is something to worry about when the main goal is to keep quarterback Cam Newton upright and healthy.