There is reason to feel optimistic about the status of Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, who missed Sunday’s game at Chicago after a hit against Philadelphia on Oct. 12 placed him in the NFL’s concussion protocol.
It was the third time in as many years that Kuechly has had to miss time with a concussion.
But Kuechly will be evaluated by an independent consultant on Monday, head coach Ron Rivera confirmed.
“My understanding is that he will see the independent,” said Rivera.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
Getting cleared by an independent neurologist marks the final step in the concussion protocol. If cleared, Kuechly could return to practicing fully this week and be ready to play this Sunday in Tampa Bay.
The team must also clear Kuechly for him to participate fully. Last season, Kuechly was held out by the Panthers staff for three additional games after being cleared from the protocol out of concern for his long-term health.
Rivera added that he did not yet have any updates on the status of veteran center Ryan Kalil, who appeared to re-aggravate a neck injury and had to leave Sunday’s game after 15 plays (Carolina’s first three series), or guard Trai Turner, who had to leave the game late with a knee injury.
Panthers safety Kurt Coleman said Monday that he is still day to day as he recovers from a sprained MCL.