One day after the Seahawks lost emerging defensive tackle Jordan Hill (calf) to season-ending injured reserve, their divisional-round playoff opponent learned they too would be without a key contributor on defense.
Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Star Lotulelei has been ruled out of Saturday night's game after breaking a small bone in his foot. Like the setback to the Seahawks' Hill, Lotulelei's injury was suffered during the week of practice.
"He had surgery this morning to repair it," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said via conference call on Wednesday. "It's one of those things that hopefully we get an opportunity to move on, and if we do, he'll get to play."
Lotulelei, a first-round pick of the Panthers in 2013, started 13 games this season. He was one of the team's top defenders against the run and played particularly well to close the year, collecting 2.0 sacks and seven of his season's 25 tackles in Carolina's finale against the Atlanta Falcons.
Replacing Lotulelei will be recently-signed defensive tackle Kyle Love and eight-year veteran Colin Cole, who played two seasons in Seattle (2009-11) before joining the Panthers last year.
"He's been such a solid, steady force," Rivera said of Cole, who posted 28 tackles in 2014. "He's a space-eater up inside. He handles the doubles very well, holds the point of attack, and he helps to allow our linebackers to run."
Kickoff for Saturday's game between the Seahawks and Panthers is set for 5:15 p.m. PT at Seattle's CenturyLink Field.
Photos from the Seahawks' "Competition Wednesday" practice that took place on a Tuesday ahead of Seattle's Saturday divisional-round playoff game against the NFC South champion Carolina Panthers.