Mike Tolbert hoping to play Sunday, but couldn’t today

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Other than their persistent inability to keep a right guard on the field, the Panthers have been reasonably healthy this year.

But now, they might have to put their seven-game win streak on the line without one of their key offensive parts.

Fullback Mike Tolbert told Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer he was still “hopeful” to play Sunday against the Buccaneers, but admitted that if the game would be played today he would not be ready because of a hamstring strain.

Tolbert has fit in nicely with the Panthers, becoming a real threat in short-yardage (now that they’re using him), and helping in the run and pass game. He’s scored six touchdowns this season.

While running back Jonathan Stewart is back, he’s not the same kind of load Tolbert is out of the backfield, and the Panthers will have to adjust what has been a successful plan.