Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly participated in non-contact position drills Wednesday, his most extensive action since sustaining a concussion in the season opener at Jacksonville on Sept. 13.
Kuechly was not in pads and did not have on a helmet. But he ran to each of the drill stations and hit a blocking sled while Panthers coach Ron Rivera looked on.
Kuechly has been in the concussion protocol since leaving the Jaguars game before halftime following an awkward, head-first hit on running back T.J. Yeldon.
He will have to be cleared by an independent neurologist before he can play Sunday against New Orleans.
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Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery was among five players who missed Wednesday's practice due to injury. Cotchery has a high ankle sprain and was not spotted on the practice field during the 20 minutes open to the media.
The other four injured players worked on the side with a strength coach: defensive end Charles Johnson, defensive tackle Kyle Love, running back Jonathan Stewart and right guard Trai Turner.