The Carolina Panthers are making an official decision on veteran quarterback Sam Darnold this Thursday morning. The NFC South franchise, as expected, is placing the former USC star on the injured reserve.
Sam Darnold had been battling for the Panthers' starting quarterback position all throughout training camp. However, Matt Rhule is moving ahead with Baker Mayfield. The Panthers acquired Mayfield in a trade with the Cleveland Browns during the offseason.
After losing the quarterback battle recently, Darnold then went down with a pretty significant ankle injury during a preseason game. It's looking like a four-to-six week timetable for Darnold to return. He's now on the official injury reserve list.
"Panthers placed QB Sam Darnold on injured reserve to clear a roster spot for kicker Eddy Piñeiro," said ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Matt Rhule offers a bit more clarity on the situation. The Panthers were initially concerned Sam Darnold would miss six to eight weeks, but it looks like four to six weeks is more realistic.
"We think it's 4-6 [weeks]," said Rhule, via All Panthers. "There was a lot of concern that it would be 6-8 [weeks], which is why I couldn't confirm anything on the 4-6 weeks report. I would never lead you guys wrong. They did additional testing and the good news is it didn't have some of the structural issues that maybe can sometimes come with that injury."
Once Darnold returns off the injured reserve, he should slide right back into that Panthers' backup quarterback spot. Mayfield, meanwhile, will continue running the show.