Luke Kuechly has cleared the league’s concussion protocol, the Panthers announced today. However, he remains questionable for Monday night’s game.
“We are excited to have Luke healthy and cleared from the protocol,” head coach Ron Rivera said. “I know he is extremely motivated to get back on the field and help us win games. Whether he plays this week or not, I don’t know. We have to balance our enthusiasm with what’s best for Luke and the team long term.”
Late last month, the Panthers were adamant that they would not shut Kuechly down for the season. Now, it sounds like the team is giving that some further thought, particularly given their slim playoff hopes.
Five Thirty Eight projects the Panthers to have less than a 1% chance of making the postseason. At 5-8, Carolina must run the table to have any chance of getting in and, even then, they need a lot of things to go their way. The best (and perhaps only) path we can find is a scenario in which the Panthers win out, the Falcons and Buccaneers lose out, and the Saints lose to the Cardinals this week before topping the Bucs and Falcons in the final two weeks. That infinitesimal shot of extending the season is probably not worth risking further injury to the team’s defensive star.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.