Report: Kuechly played playoffs with torn labrum, will have surgery

Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is one tough dude. We already knew that from the way he plays, but had it confirmed again when the Charlotte Observer reported on Tuesday that Kuechly played since Week 17 with a partially torn labrum in his shoulder that will require surgery.

Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder, sources told the Observer on Tuesday.

Kuechly status for the Panthers’ OTAs and minicamp is uncertain, but the three-time Pro Bowler is expected to be fully recovered before the start of training camp in July.

Kuechly injured his shoulder in a Week 17 game vs. Tampa Bay, but did not miss any practice time. Kuechly was hurt late in the first half against the Buccaneers on Jan. 3, but returned and played the second half with a brace.

Kuechly continued to wear the brace throughout the playoffs, including the Super Bowl 50 loss to Denver on Feb. 7.

That Kuechly's play did not really drop off at all during the playoffs is pretty crazy, considering the extent of the injury with which he was apparently playing. He finished the postseason with 29 tackles, a sack, three passes defensed and two interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns.

That postseason performance followed yet another excellent season for the 25-year-old middle linebacker, who was been one of the NFL's best players at his position during each of his four NFL seasons. He was the 2012 Defensive Rookie of the Year and 2013 Defensive Player of the Year, and he's made the Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro in each of the last three seasons.

He's every bit the star on defense that Cam Newton is for the Panthers' offense, and the team will obviously do everything in its power to make sure he is healthy for the start of next season. Considering the timetable laid out by the Observer, that should not be an issue.

Luke Kuechly is set to have shoulder surgery. (USATSI)
CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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