After breaking the same bone in his right foot that he broke last season, Panthers tight end Greg Olsen hopes to be back on the field in four to five weeks, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports.
According to Rapoport, Olsen will "reevaluate" the situation at the conclusion of the season, and for now, it seems like Olsen will avoid going on injured reserve.
Last season Olsen was forced to miss nine games because of injury, including eight he spent on IR after fracturing his right foot in Week 2. When the Panthers announced Olsen re-fractured his foot in the 16-8 win over the Cowboys to open the season, they said he would be evaluated on a "monthly basis."
Olsen, 33, is in his 12th NFL season. Prior to last season, the three-time Pro Bowler went nine consecutive years playing all 16 games in the regular season.
With Olsen sidelined, Carolina will rely on Chris Manhertz and Ian Thomas at tight end. Quarterback Cam Newton is also likely to use running back Christian McCaffrey in the passing game more and put more faith in wide receivers Devin Funchess, Jarius Wright and Torrey Smith, since Olsen has been his top passing target over the last few seasons.
When Olsen returned last season from injury, he had mixed results. After getting injured again in his first game back, Olsen was able to play the final four regular-season games and Carolina's postseason game. He had nine catches for 116 yards and a touchdown in a win against the Packers and eight catches for 107 yards and a score in the wild-card playoff loss to the Saints. However, in games against the Buccaneers and Falcons to close the regular season, he combined for four catches and 37 yards.
The Panthers are 1-0 and face the Falcons in Atlanta in Week 2. If Olsen is able to return around when he hopes, that will likely have him back shortly after Carolina's Week 4 bye, when the team has a three-game stretch against its remaining NFC East opponents for this season.
The Panthers host the Giants in Week 5, then hit the road to face the Redskins in Week 6 and then go back on the road for a contest in Philadelphia against the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles in Week 7.