Panthers set to move Darnold to IR, start Walker

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers will place quarterback Sam Darnold on injured reserve because of a shoulder injury, which is believed to have occurred in Sunday’s 24-6 loss to the New England Patriots.

Carolina coach Matt Rhule said Darnold is expected to miss at least four weeks.

P.J. Walker, who played for Rhule at Temple and starred in the XFL before signing with Carolina last year, will get his second NFL start on Sunday when the Panthers (4-5) play at the Arizona Cardinals (8-1).

He won his first start last year 20-0 against the Detroit Lions.

“P.J. is here because I believe in him,” said Rhule, saying his faith in Walker has nothing to do with coaching him in college.

Darnold was a game-time decision to start Sunday’s game after suffering a concussion and a shoulder injury in a victory over the Atlanta Falcons the week before. The shoulder injury is not believed to be related to the injury suffered against New England.

An MRI this week revealed Darnold had an incomplete fracture of the scapula on his right (throwing) shoulder. Rhule said he believes it happened in the second quarter.

There is one play in which Darnold took a forearm to the scapula area from Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy early in the second quarter that could be the source of the injury.

Neither Rhule nor Darnold indicated on Sunday the shoulder was an issue in the quarterback’s performance in the loss. Rhule reiterated that on Monday.

Darnold finished the game, completing 16 of 33 passes for 172 yards with three interceptions and no touchdowns. One of his interceptions, in the third quarter, was returned 88 yards for a touchdown.

“You look at the second half, he obviously was playing with something,” Rhule said Wednesday.

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