Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder, sources told the Observer on Tuesday.
Kuechly’s status for the Panthers’ OTAs and minicamp is uncertain, but the three-time Pro Bowler is expected to be fully recovered before the start of training camp in July.
Kuechly injured his shoulder in a Week 17 game vs. Tampa Bay, but did not miss any practice time. Kuechly was hurt late in the first half against the Buccaneers on Jan. 3, but returned and played the second half with a brace.
Kuechly continued to wear the brace throughout the playoffs, including the Super Bowl 50 loss to Denver on Feb. 7.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Defensive ends Mario Addison and Ryan Delaire also are set for offseason surgeries to repair torn labrums, sources said.
Kuechly became the first player in NFL history to return interceptions for touchdowns in consecutive playoff games when he did it against Seattle and Arizona.
Kuechly finished a game-high 10 tackles in the 24-10 loss to the Broncos in the Super Bowl. He had one of five sacks against Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, and also broke up a pass.
Kuechly, named first-team All-Pro for the third consecutive year, sat out three games after sustaining a concussion in a Week 1 victory at Jacksonville. Those are the only three games Kuechly has missed since the Panthers drafted him No. 9 overall in 2012.
Despite sitting three games, Kuechly led the Panthers with 118 tackles. His 29 playoff tackles were the most in the league.
Kuechly tied a career high with four interceptions during the regular season, including two on back-to-back snaps in a Thanksgiving Day win at Dallas. He returned the first pick of Tony Romo 32 yards for his first career touchdown.