Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera confirmed on Wednesday that linebacker Luke Kuechly will be a healthy scratch for Sunday’s season finale in Tampa Bay.
Kuechly missed three weeks while in the concussion protocol, and then was a healthy scratch for two more weeks. Rivera said he will “err on the side of caution” in regards to the linebacker’s long-term health.
Quarterbacks Cam Newton and Derek Anderson also did not practice on Wednesday. Anderson caught a bug – “When you have kids you get their germs,” Rivera joked – and Newton is still working through a sore shoulder.
Newton handled handoffs but third-stringer Joe Webb threw to first- and second-team receivers.
If Newton is cleared by team doctors for Sunday, Rivera said he will play.
Tight end Greg Olsen did not practice with an elbow injury suffered two weeks ago. Wide receiver Devin Funchess did not practice due to a knee injury that forced him to the locker room mid-game against Atlanta last week. Defensive end Charles Johnson is dealing with foot and hamstring injuries.
Running back Jonathan Stewart took a rest day.