CHARLOTTE – Linebacker Luke Kuechly won't travel with the Panthers for Sunday's game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but his right-hand man looks like he'll be good to go.
Thomas Davis, who suffered a pectoral injury in Week 3 that forced him to watch the end of the game from the sideline with Kuechly, recovered quickly enough to fully participate in practice the last two days and is listed as probable.
The Panthers will need him with Kuechly set to miss his third consecutive game because of a concussion sustained in the season opener.
"Thomas has had a good couple of days – he took all his reps today – so he's all fired up and ready to roll," head coach Ron Rivera said. "He still has two more days, and he's done really well."
Rivera said the Panthers will keep in mind what defensive situations most call for Davis to be on the field, but Carolina clearly needs his presence with the other two team captains on that side of the ball ruled out. In addition to Kuechly, defensive end Charles Johnson has been placed on injured reserve/designated to return with a hamstring injury.
Kony Ealy will take over for Johnson at left defensive end, moving over from the right side, which will now be manned by Jared Allen. The Panthers traded for the veteran pass rusher Tuesday.
On the offensive side, depth along the front could be a bit of concern Sunday, but the linemen should be able to block for a healthy group of running backs. Running back Jonathan Stewart and fullback Mike Tolbert both fully participated in practice Friday after sitting out the previous two days and are listed as probable.
Converted guard Amini Silatolu, the top backup at tackle while Daryl Williams rehabs from a knee injury, suffered a high ankle sprain in practice Thursday and has been ruled out for Sunday. Rivera said guard Chris Scott would serve as backup right tackle and that right tackle Mike Remmers would shift over to the left side if anything happened to Michael Oher.
View photos from the Panthers' week of practice leading up to their game versus the Buccaneers.