Inside the Panthers

Panthers LB Luke Kuechly doubtful for Sunday’s game against Texans

Carolina Panthers head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion, left, walks with linebacker Luke Kuechly, right, to practice on Wednesday, September 16, 2015. Kuechly suffered a concussion in the team's season opener on Sunday vs the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Carolina Panthers head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion, left, walks with linebacker Luke Kuechly, right, to practice on Wednesday, September 16, 2015. Kuechly suffered a concussion in the team's season opener on Sunday vs the Jacksonville Jaguars. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans as he remains in the concussion protocol.

Kuechly, who suffered a concussion toward the end of the first half of last week’s win in Jacksonville, was present at Friday’s practice but did not participate in any drills.

In order for the All-Pro linebacker to play Sunday, Kuechly would have to do non-contact drills with the linebacking group on Saturday and then get cleared by both the team doctors and an independent neurologist.

“We’ll get the answer tomorrow,” Rivera said Friday.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera has said he and his staff will err on the side of caution with Kuechly and not put his long-term health at risk.

Carolina has expressed confidence that backup linebacker A.J. Klein can get the job done at middle linebacker in place of Kuechly.

If Kuechly does not play Sunday, it will be the first game he’s missed in his four-year NFL career.

Jonathan Jones: 704-358-5323, @jjones9

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