CHARLOTTE – The Panthers could get back a key member of their front seven Sunday but could be without two others.
Defensive end Jared Allen, who didn't make the trip to Seattle because of a pinched nerve in his back, returned to practice Wednesday and sounded optimistic that he'd be ready for the Philadelphia Eagles' visit on Sunday Night Football.
On the other hand, rookie linebacker Shaq Thompson (knee) isn't expected to play, and it's too early to tell about defensive tackle Dwan Edwards (ankle).
Even the bad news wasn't as bad it as could have been, however. It initially looked grim when Thompson went down on a special teams tackle in the final minute of Sunday's victory over the Seattle Seahawks, as several teammates encircled him with obvious concern.
"It will probably be at least a week, and then we'll see how he's reacted to all the treatment. He was very fortunate that it wasn't as bad," head coach Ron Rivera said. "Once we get the swelling down and the movement back – it could be a week, two weeks, three weeks, who knows? I really can't give you a timetable."
Fellow linebacker A.J. Klein remains in the concussion protocol after skipping the Seattle trip but was listed as being a full participant in practice Wednesday, doing everything minus contact. Cornerback Teddy Williams, like Thompson hurt on a special teams play against Seattle, also is in the protocol but was able to partially practice.
Allen, meanwhile, was a limited participant in practice and plans to be active Sunday.
"I better be," Allen said. "I practiced today."
Allen started in his Carolina debut back in Week 4 despite the injury, but it didn't respond well and kept him out versus Seattle even after he had an additional week to heal during the bye.
"It was rough. The whole week, I thought I was going to go, but obviously Coach and R.V. (head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion) did what they thought was best for me," Allen said. "I wanted to be a part of it, seeing the environment on TV and seeing those guys just compete, compete, compete. To be a part of that victory would have been fun.
"I trained hard all weekend, working my butt off to get back out there. I'll just keep rehabbing and be ready to go on Sunday."
Edwards exited early against Seattle after a Seahawk rolled up on his ankle. He wasn't able to practice Wednesday.
"It's just one of those unfortunate things," Edwards said. "I'll just get as much swelling out of it as I can. It's definitely starting to feel better every day, but I've got to get my range of motion back."
Offensive tackle Daryl Williams (knee), out since Week 1 but thought to be nearing a return, wasn't able to practice. Tight end Richie Brockel (hamstring) also didn't practice after sitting out the Seattle game.
View photos from the Panthers' week of practice leading up to their game versus the Eagles.