Panthers tight end Greg Olsen re-fractures foot, but hopes to return later this season

Greg Olsen lost his 2017 season to a fractured foot. The same exact injury to the same exact foot might rob him of his 2018 season too. At the very least, it figures to cost him a significant portion of the 2018 season.

On Tuesday, the Panthers confirmed that their tight end re-fractured his right foot during the team's season-opening win over the Cowboys on Sunday. However, the Panthers and Olsen aren't ready to close the door on the 2018 season. They're hoping Olsen can return at some point this season. 

According to the team, "there are no plans for surgery at this time" and Olsen will be monitored on a "monthly basis."

In his own statement, Olsen sounded optimistic about his chances of returning this season.

In the meantime, he'll be missed. From 2011-16, Olsen played in all 96 possible games with the Panthers, recording 428 receptions, 5,384 yards and 32 touchdowns. In that span, he ranked third in catches, third in receiving yards, and fifth in touchdown catches among all tight ends. He played in only seven games last year, but the Panthers found a way to overcome his absence and journey to the playoffs. 

Moving forward, the Panthers will be short on reliable pass catchers. Devin Funchess is their top receiver. Behind him on the depth chart are guys like Torrey Smith, first-round rookie D.J. Moore, and Jarius Wright. If the Panthers are going to emerge out of a difficult division and conference, they'll need someone like Moore to accelerate his process of development. They'll also need Cam Newton to overcome a shaky supporting cast and Christian McCaffrey to become a multidimensional star coming out of the backfield.

The Panthers will head to Atlanta this weekend for an important divisional showdown with the Falcons. It's only Week 2, but it's a huge game considering the Panthers already have a chance to go two games up on the Falcons in the NFC South.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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