Luke Kuechly ruled out against Bears, Ryan Kalil expected to return

Philip Rivers

Luke Kuechly ruled out against Bears, Ryan Kalil expected to return

As a result, the team has ruled him out for their game against the Bears in Chicago on Sunday.

Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly left last Thursday night's game against the Philadelphia Eagles early after taking a hard above-the-shoulders shot from guard Brandon Brooks. He is now in the concussion protocol process.

This marks the third consecutive season in which Kuechly will have missed at least one game because of a concussion. Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and two-time All-Pro center Ryan Kalil are expected to start.

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The Panthers are 4-2 and in first place in the NFC South. Rivera said it is "probable" Benjamin will play on Sunday. Kuechly went into the concussion protocol, and his status has been up in the air since.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Kuechly, who was limited in practice Friday, is "progressing nicely" through the concussion protocol.

Kuechly resumed practicing more quickly this week than he did following his previous two seasons, and is scheduled to meet with the doctors Monday morning in Charlotte.

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