CHARLOTTE – Linebacker Luke Kuechly has been ruled out for Sunday's game at the Chicago Bears.
Kuechly has been in the concussion protocol since leaving the Thursday Night Football contest against the Eagles. The hope is that Kuechly can play when the Panthers kick off two straight Sundays of division play next week at Tampa Bay.
"He's progressing nicely through the protocol," head coach Ron Rivera said. "The nice thing about it is that he'll see the doctors Monday morning, and we'll go from there."
Rivera said safety Kurt Coleman, another team captain, would be a game-time decision, but added that wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and kicker Graham Gano – both listed as questionable – would have been listed as probable if that injury report designation still existed. Rivera feels at least that good about center Ryan Kalil (neck) returning to action for the first time since Week 1.
Benjamin developed knee bursitis against the Eagles and did not practice Wednesday or Thursday but was a full participant Friday.
"Kelvin had a good day," Rivera said. "He had a good practice today, ran all the routes, caught all the balls."
Gano was a surprise addition to the injury report with a right knee injury. He practiced fully all week but officially is listed as questionable for the game.
"We didn't see any issues today," Rivera said. "He had a little soreness yesterday. He did everything today, kicked and the whole bit."
Coleman has missed two games with a knee injury. He practiced in full Friday after being a limited participant the previous two days.
"That will be a tough one," Rivera said. "He's done well in practice, but it's going to be game day."
View photos of the week of practice leading up to the Panthers' game against the Bears.