Despite having a short week to prepare, the Carolina Panthers should be at close to full health for Thursday’s game against New Orleans.
The Panthers (3-6) will be missing three players against the Saints (4-5) in what is essentially an elimination game in the NFC South. All three players listed as out are in the concussion protocol: left tackle Michael Oher, who will miss his seventh consecutive game, outside linebacker A.J. Klein and special teams regular Colin Jones.
Klein played extensively the past two games in place of Shaq Thompson, who was sidelined with a knee injury. But Thompson, who practiced with a wrap and a brace on his left knee Wednesday, is expected to start against the Saints.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said it was “kind of cool” to get Thompson back in the lineup.
Starting center Ryan Kalil (shoulder) and backup center Gino Gradkowski (knee) are listed as questionable. But Rivera indicated Kalil would have been “probable” in the NFL’s old injury reporting system.
“We just want to make sure on (Thursday) morning he’s fine and had no residual effects from (Wednesday’s) work,” Rivera said.
The Saints will be without left tackle Terron Armstead, who is dealing with knee and quad injuries.