Kalil, who suffered a neck injury in Week 2 that he called “pretty serious,” has played just five quarters all season. He made a return to the field in Week 7 but had to leave in the first quarter after aggravating the injury. He was active in Week 12 vs. the Jets in the case of an emergency and has been a limited participant at practice this week.
The 11-year center said he thinks the Panthers expects him to make a return sooner rather than later. “I don’t think they’d let me take up a roster spot if they didn’t think I would be able to,” he said.
Despite being without their mainstay in the middle, Carolina has still rushed for the fifth-most yards through Week 12 and are atop the NFC South with an 8-3 mark. Kalil’s return, however, could clear more running lanes for Christian McCaffrey and Jonathan Stewart. Second-year center Tyler Larsen has manned Kalil’s position in his absence.
Kalil also noted he plans to play beyond this season. He is signed through 2018.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.