Miami Dolphins tailback Daniel Thomas tore a ligament in his left ankle during Sunday's 20-16 loss to the Carolina Panthers, and is likely done for the season.

Thomas, who gained 279 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns on his 77 carries this season, left Sunday's game on crutches and was in a walking boot. According to a source, Thomas will not have to undergo surgery to repair the injury.

However, his absence will force Lamar Miller, the Dolphins' starting tailback, to handle a heavier workload for the final five games of the season as the Dolphins (5-6) compete with six other teams for the final AFC Wild Card spot.

Thomas, who averaged 3.6 yards per carry, handled the Dolphins' short yardage situations, and was the the primary back in the team's single-set packages. He's responsible for one-third of the team's tailback work, and was the Dolphins' best blocking back.

His injury could also expand roles for Marcus Thigpen, the Dolphins' return specialist, who has handled two carries this season, and rookie tailback Mike Gillislee, a former Florida Gators standout the Dolphins selected in the fifth-round of the 2013 NFL draft.

Gillislee hasn't played in a regular season game this season, but Thomas injury will likely elevate his game-day status.

This is the second straight year Thomas' season has been cut short by an injury. Last year Thomas, the Dolphins' 2011 second-round pick, suffered a knee injury in the Dec. 16 win over the Jaguars and missed the Dolphins' final two games.