Wallace Wright was placed on IR Tuesday. (AP Photo)
CHARLOTTE -- The Carolina Panthers placed wide receiver Wallace Wright on injured reserve Tuesday with a shoulder injury, a move that will hurt them both on offense and special teams.
"He was a guy we were counting on pretty heavily both at the receiver position and in the kicking game," coach John Fox said.
In other moves, defensive end Hilee Taylor was also added to injured reserve with a knee injury and linebacker Thomas Davis was placed on the reserve-PUP list with a torn ACL in his knee, meaning he can't play until at least Week 7 of the season. The team also released wide receivers Dexter Jackson and Oliver Young to get down to 75. The final cut down to 53 players comes Saturday.
Fox said Wright will need surgery to repair the shoulder, although he didn't specify the nature of the injury.
A free agent pickup from the New York Jets, Wright was signed primarily to play on special teams and was a clear upgrade in that area for the Panthers, who struggled on special teams in 2009. However, he also caught the coaching staff's attention with his speed and hands, and was positioned to be the team's third or fourth receiver this season.
Ironically, Wright injured his shoulder against his former team on Saturday night at Bank of America Stadium after making a reception and then fumbling in the red zone. He said someone landed on it while he was on the ground reaching for the loose ball.
The move likely opens a roster spot for wide receiver Charly Martin, who spent time on the roster last season but missed a good portion of training camp with a broken finger on his hand. Like Wright, Martin can also contribute on special teams. It could also help rookie David Gettis or Kenny Moore.
In fact, Fox brought up Martin's name as a possible replacement without being asked about it.
"We have Charly Martin back up and he'll get some action," Fox said. "The next guy has to step up, just like all injuries."
"Honestly I come into this game attacking it the same every day," Martin said after learning of Wright's injury. "There are moves that are going to be made and changes on the roster and guys that are up and guys that are down. I just try to do what I can and work hard and help this team win."
Martin had been having an outstanding first week of training camp before breaking the middle finger on his left hand.
He's just now getting back to the point where he can catch passes.
"I'm working on it," Martin said. "I'm not quite where I want to be yet but I've been cleared to catch a few passes from the quarterbacks at least. I'm just trying to work back into it."
The Panthers are still hoping to get Davis, their normal starting weak side linebacker, back on the field at some point this season. After the first six weeks, the Panthers will have a window of three weeks in which to decide whether or not to activate him to the 53-man roster or place him on injured reserve.