CHARLOTTE – Linebacker Luke Kuechly, center Ryan Kalil and defensive end Mario Addison have been ruled out for Sunday's game at the Oakland Raiders, but Kuechly and Kalil will be on the plane for the Panthers' 10-day, two-game road trip that will conclude with a game in Seattle.
"Mario (foot) won't make the trip, but Ryan (shoulder) and Luke (concussion) will. We'll see how each day progresses," head coach Ron Rivera said when asked if making the trip signals that Kalil and Kuechly could be ready for the Seahawks next week. "It's very important for the obvious reasons going forward, but also as far as communication and helping their teammates not just with moral support but with what they know about the game. It's kind of like having another set of coaching eyes on the sideline."
Rivera is hopeful that the principle backups for Kuechly and Kalil will be ready for the Raiders after missing Carolina's last game versus New Orleans. Linebacker A.J. Klein (concussion) and center Gino Gradkowski (knee) fully participated in practice for the second consecutive day.
"A.J. took another step," Rivera said. "At this time of the year with nicks and bruises and pulls and strain, it's all about rest, and Gino had last week off. So, hopefully, he'll be fresher and ready to roll."
As for Addison, who has five sacks in his last three games, the addition of defensive end Ryan Delaire to the 53-man roster should help. Delaire, who hasn't played since Week 2 because of a knee injury, was activated off injured reserve/designated for return Friday.
"He had a good week of work, and during this whole process he's worked very hard," Rivera said.
The secondary got some encouraging news with safety Tre Boston (ankle) returning to practice and cornerback Leonard Johnson (chest) practicing for the second consecutive day.
View photos of the Panthers practice leading up to their game against the Raiders.