Only two Panthers players are officially ruled out for Sunday’s matchup with the Chiefs, but a handful more may not see the field, either.
Both left tackle Michael Oher and special teams star Colin Jones are ruled out this weekend as they move through the concussion protocol. This will be Oher’s sixth game missed this season.
Receiver Corey “Philly” Brown will play “gunner” on special teams in Jones’ place on Sunday, said head coach Ron Rivera on Friday.
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The biggest question marks surround the Carolina offensive line. Both starting center Ryan Kalil (shoulder sprain) and backup Gino Gradkowski (knee) are recovering from injuries, with Kalil not participating in practice all week and Gradkowski limited.
Rivera said that the two would be Saturday decisions. A quick game coming up on Thursday against the New Orleans Saints certainly factors in, he added.
If neither starting center Ryan Kalil or backup Gino Gradkowski can play, Swiss-Army-knife Chris Scott will likely start at center against the Chiefs.
“(It factors in) a lot,” he said. “I mean, you have to think about going forward as much as you play now. That’s the hard part when it comes to injuries, you got to be smart.”
If neither can play, Swiss-Army-knife Chris Scott will likely start at center for Carolina.
“I think just some guys can handle (being able to play multiple positions on the line) mentally, some guys can’t,” said Rivera. “Some guys can handle it athletically, some guys can’t. And when you have a guy who can do it both athletically and mentally, it’s impressive. Chris is a very smart, bright guy. He’s been through a lot, he’s developed a lot. We trust him that if we ever had to put him in at any of the positions that he’ll fight and compete and do the best he can. And that’s all you can ask from a guy.”
Mike Remmers will continue to man the left side in Oher’s absence.
Linebacker Shaq Thompson is also questionable for Sunday with a knee injury. He was limited in Friday’s practice, as was defensive tackle Vernon Butler, who continues to rehab a high ankle sprain. Defensive tackle Kyle Love is also questionable with a knee injury but participated fully in practice.