Bryan Strickland Senior Writer
CHARLOTTE – The Panthers moved one step closer to a dubious record Tuesday when guard Zack Williams became the 17th player placed on injured reserve this season.
Carolina put a team-record 18 players on injured reserve last season.
Williams tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee when his shoe stuck in the turf during pregame warm-ups Sunday at San Diego. The Panthers signed guard Hayworth Hicks off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice squad to replace Williams.
Williams, a sixth-round draft choice from Washington State in 2011, tore his left ACL during training camp last year and missed his entire rookie season.”You always feel bad when that happens, especially when it happens a second time,” interim general manager Brandon Beane said.
After beginning this season on Carolina’s practice squad, he was signed to the active roster Nov. 2. Williams was active for the Panthers’ last seven games but only played in Week 11 against Tampa Bay.
Hicks, a 6-3, 336-pound rookie, signed with the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent out of Iowa State. He started the regular season on the Colts practice squad, was inactive for three games with the New York Jets and for one game with the Kansas City Chiefs before spending one game on the Buccaneers’ practice squad.
“He’s a guy we’ve had our eye on,” Beane said. “He’s a big kid, and looking toward the future we feel he could help us down the line.”