Panthers place starting center Ryan Kalil and his backup on injured reserve

The Carolina Panthers announced on Tuesday that center Ryan Kalil has been placed on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury he sustained during the team's 23-20 victory over the Saints in Week 11. The team made the announcement via its official website.

The Panthers also placed Kalil's backup, Gino Gradkowski, on IR with a knee injury. He started in place of Kalil during the Panthers' 35-32 loss to the Raiders this past Sunday, but had to leave the game early due to the knee issues he'd been battling over the last few weeks.

With the two open roster spots, the Panthers announced that they signed free agent center Ryan Wendell, who last played for the New England Patriots, and right tackle Dan France, who has spent time on the practice squads of the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns. France may be needed to start right away, as starting right tackle Daryl Williams was also injured against the Raiders.

The Panthers' slim playoff hopes are fading fast, as they are now 4-7, three full games back of the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South, 2.5 back of Washington in the wild card race, and in 13th place overall in the NFC.

The defense has regressed badly from last season and will have to deal without Luke Kuechly as he recovers from a concussion, while an offensive line that has already sprung more leaks this year will now have to play both without its anchor and with several new members that have to come together quickly.

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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