Panthers announced Wednesday that Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil is out for the season after suffering a left foot injury.
Kalil was injured in Carolina's 16-12 loss to Seattle, although he continued playing.
Kalil went to see Dr. James Anderson on Tuesday and it was determined he had a Lisfranc injury — torn a ligament that supports the middle of his foot.
He will have season-ending surgery on Monday and be placed on injured reserve.
A first-round draft pick by the Panthers in 2007, Kalil has been to the last three Pro Bowls and is a key cog in Carolina's offense. Coach Ron Rivera says Geoff Hangartner will move from right guard to center and either Garry Williams or Jeff Byers will play right guard.
"It's unfortunate," Rivera said. "He was having a terrific year in spite of our situation. We're just going to hope for the best."
Kalil suffered the injury in the first half of the Seahawks game but continued to play.
"He got some treatment, they re-taped his foot and brought him back out there and he finished the game," Rivera said. "The assumption we were (going) with was that he was going to be fine. He went and saw Dr. Anderson yesterday and there was a lot of concern. Today, everything was confirmed."
Kalil had started all 16 games in each of the last three seasons.
Along with being a key player, he's also a prominent figure in the locker room.
"He is most certainly one of the emotional leaders, and it's hard to replace those kind of guys," Rivera said. "The truth of the matter is it's time for us as a team to step up. This is another one of those things that's going to try us."
Kalil made headlines earlier this summer when he took out a full-page advertisement in a local newspaper promising fans the Panthers would bring home their first Vince Lombardi Trophy. Rivera firmly endorsed Kalil's prediction and even had shirts printed up for the players that read: "I've got Ryan Kalil's back."
The Panthers (1-4) are now just hoping to make the playoffs.
Since 1978, 156 teams have begun the season 1-4 with only seven — less than five percent — reaching the playoffs, according to STATS LLC.