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Panthers starting left tackle Kalil put on IR

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers placed starting left tackle Matt Kalil on injured reserve on Sunday with the hope the 2012 Pro Bowl selection can return after eight games.

Kalil underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in Florida two weeks ago after consulting with Dr. James Andrews. Center Ryan Kalil initially said his brother would be back “sooner rather than later,” but the knee hasn’t fully responded.

General manager Marty Hurney said in a statement on Sunday that the move to IR was made “to give [Kalil] time to fully rehab the knee.”

This means 2017 second-round pick Taylor Moton, who began the season competing for the starting left guard spot before moving to right tackle to replace the injured Daryl Williams, will start at left tackle in Sunday’s opener against Dallas.

Williams, who suffered a torn MCL and dislocated patella early in training camp, returned to practice on Sunday and went through drills during the media portion. Left guard Amini Silatolu also returned to practice for the first time since suffering a torn meniscus.

Coach Ron Rivera would not speculate on whether either player will be available for Dallas, although he noted their return was a good sign. Silatolu was a bit more optimistic, saying, “Me and Daryl are good.”

Matt Kalil signed a five-year, $55.5 million deal before last season as a free agent from Minnesota. He struggled early last season, but he was encouraged by his offseason and a return to the system of new offensive coordinator Norv Turner, previously at Minnesota.

“From Week 4 on I started playing better and better, and toward the end of the season I was playing where I want to be,” Kalil said early in training camp. “That carried over to [OTAs] and to camp, and obviously I’m way ahead of the curve of where I started last year.”

The Panthers traded for former Detroit tackle Corey Robinson on Saturday as insurance.

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