Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield is expected to be out "at least a couple weeks" due to a high ankle sprain, a league source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Monday (October 10).
Mayfield, who was acquired by the Panthers in an offseason trade with the Cleveland Browns, experienced the injury late in the first half of Sunday's (October 9) 37-15 to the San Francisco 49ers and played most of the second half, but was seen wearing a walking boot on his left foot while addressing reporters after the game.
"A little painful right now,'' Mayfield said via ESPN. "I'm not real sure exactly what it is. We'll examine that tomorrow and find out. So right now I'm managing the pain and learning to step in the boot.''
Backup PJ Walker is expected to start in Mayfield's absence against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday (October 16). Walker has a 2-0 record, having made starts for the Panthers in each of the past two seasons.
Mayfield, a former No. 1 overall pick, has thrown for 962 yards, four touchdowns, and four interceptions in five games in 2022.
Mayfield's reported status comes after the Panthers announced the termination of head coach Matt Rhule in a news release shared on their official website Monday.
Rhule, 47, who was hired by the Panthers in 2020 after three seasons as head coach of the Baylor Bears, finishes his career in Carolina with an 11-27 record (.289 winning percentage), which includes a 1-4 start to the 2022 season.
Defensive pass game coordinator and secondary coach Steve Wilks will take over as interim coach for the remainder of the 2022 season, the team confirmed.
Wilks, 53, went 3-13 during his lone season as an NFL head coach for the Arizona Cardinals in 2018. The Charlotte native had previously worked as a Panthers assistant from 2012 to 2017 prior to his stint with the Cardinals and returned to Carolina this past offseason.
Rhule went 47-43 as a collegiate head coach during stints at Temple (2013-16) and Baylor, which included winning the AAC championship during his final season at Temple and making a Big 12 Conference Championship Game appearance during his last season at Baylor.
The Panthers finished both of Rhule's first two seasons with just five wins and failed to make the playoffs.
Carolina's lone win in 2022 came against the New Orleans Saints in Week 3.
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