SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — Panthers starting defensive tackle Star Lotulelei will miss a “few weeks” of action after being diagnosed with a right foot injury.
Lotulelei was carted off the practice field Monday at Wofford College.
“Star has a stress reaction in his foot,” Panthers head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion said in a release. “We are going to be cautious. He is in a walking boot and we will reevaluate his foot in a few weeks.”
A stress reaction is generally considered the early stages of a stress fracture. The injury happens when the stresses affecting the bone occur at a faster rate than the rate at which the bone is able to rebuild itself, according the University of Wisconsin’s sports medicine department.
It’s the same foot that Lotulelei fractured in January, preventing him from playing in the team’s NFC divisional playoff game against Seattle.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said after practice the 2013 first-round draft pick had been experiencing soreness in the ankle. Rivera said Lotulelei was taken to the locker room as a precautionary measure.
Dr. Robert Anderson, who was on hand at training camp, examined Lotulelei after practice.
Rivera says “it just started to get sore, so doc just felt it would be better to take (him) in. We might be being overly protective about it.”
The 6-foot-2, 311-pound Lotulelei is considered a space eater in the middle of Carolina’s defensive line. He had 27 tackles and two sacks last season.
Carolina’s other starting defensive tackle, Kawann Short, is out with a sore back, but Rivera said he is expected to return to action soon.