CHARLOTTE – Panthers wide receiver
The good news is the Panthers don't play until Sunday, when they visit the Washington Redskins, and head coach Ron Rivera has a good feeling about LaFell's likely availability come game time.
"When I talked to him, I felt pretty confident. He was very upbeat about it," Rivera said. "He was concerned about his neck being sore, and I said, ‘Well, now you know what a linebacker feels like.' "
LaFell left early in the third quarter after a personal foul on Bears safety Chris Conte sent him to the turf, but he was able to jog off on his own power and returned to action soon after. LaFell finished the game with three catches for 88 yards, highlighted by a 62-yarder in the first half.
"During the game, after he took the hit, they took him inside to examine him. At that point, he had passed the (NFL's concussion) protocol, and that's why he was able to go back into the game," Rivera said. "But come Monday morning, his neck was stiff and sore, and he complained of having a headache. Because of that, they went into the protocol.
"They examined him further, and we'll see how he is tomorrow. He seemed pretty confident, but you've got to go through the process."
LONG INJURY LINE: The Panthers were without defensive ends
"Frank was a little bit sore," Rivera explained. "He came out and started the practice, but probably halfway through practice he started complaining about it a little bit. They wanted to ice it down just to be safe.
"We're down already with Keiser and Applewhite with injuries. We've just to be careful. We've got to get Frank to Sunday, so they just felt like that was the best thing to do."
With Applewhite and Keiser out last week, the Panthers signed undrafted rookie
NO TD: Hearing linebacker
Instead, it's just the reality for a player coming off a third major knee injury in less than two years.
"It's one of those things where you've got to find time to give him a rest every once in a while," Rivera said. "The tough thing now, with Jon (Beason) not around, is that we've had to increase Thomas' reps, so we're going to find out that he's going to be a lot more sore.
"At times on Wednesdays, we're going to have to take him out, Thursdays we may have to cut his reps, and Fridays he'll take the bulk as long as he's feeling better. But he was out there shadowing everybody, so it wasn't as if he wasn't around. We just want to keep him off the field."
GETTIS UPDATE: With LaFell sitting out, wide receiver
The Panthers have until next week to decide whether to bring Gettis off of the Physically Unable to Perform list and onto the active roster for the first time since he was a rookie in 2010.
"He practiced, took some snaps with the first bunch as well," Rivera said. "We'll see how he is later in the week."