Two injured starters for the Carolina Panthers are trending in opposite directions ahead of Sunday’s pivotal matchup against the Atlanta Falcons.
Both guard Trai Turner and safety Kurt Coleman were limited in practice on Friday, and both will be officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s 4:25 p.m. game. Turner has been in the team’s concussion protocol since Dec. 11, the day after the Panthers defeated the Minnesota Vikings at home, and has now missed two games. Coleman did not participate in practice on Wednesday and was limited Thursday with an ankle injury.
So what are the chances either of them suits up against the Falcons?
Coach Ron Rivera made it sound Friday like Turner has a better chance at playing than Coleman.
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“Coleman? A little concerned,” Rivera said. “He was limited today and we were hoping to see him move around a little bit more, so we’ll see how he is tomorrow morning.”
Rivera was then asked whether the team would consider just resting Coleman and giving him an extra week to recover before the playoffs, rather than trying to rush him back for the Atlanta game.
“It’s health-based,” Rivera said. “That’s one of those things you certainly do think about, but with so much riding on it potentially, we’ve got to weigh all our options once we get to Sunday.”
As for Turner, who went through some drills during practice, Rivera sounded more optimistic.
“(Turner’s) finishing up the protocol right now,” Rivera said, “so once he finishes the last step, we’ll know for sure.”
Other than Turner and Coleman, the only other Panthers player who did not practice Friday was cornerback LaDarius Gunter, who was out with an illness. He is also listed as questionable for Sunday.
Quarterback Cam Newton and defensive end Julius Peppers were full participants in practice and have no injury designation for Sunday. Both were limited in practice earlier this week.