Kuechly was held out of team drills Wednesday due to tightness in his lower back, David Newton of ESPN.com reports.
Kuechly sat out Wednesday merely as a precaution, so this injury shouldn't be anything that inhibits him by the time training camp arrives. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising if Keuchly was back on the field in the next day or so.
Kuechly missed the final six games of last season while recovering from a concussion, though he did say he was medically cleared around Week 13 or 14, which suggests he might have played the final few games if Carolina had been in the playoff hunt. A concussion also cost him three games the previous season, but his risk for additional head injuries may not be quite as bad as it initially seems, considering he didn't have a documented history of concussion in the NFL prior to 2015. Kuechly still produced at his usual elite level on a per-game basis the past two seasons, averaging 9.6 tackles while recording five interceptions, three forced fumbles and three sacks in 23 appearances.
Kuechly, who finished this season with 102 tackles (71 solo), two sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery, will be ready for spring practices after missing six games due to a concussion, ESPN's David Newton reports.
Kuechly was held out of Carolina's final six games after suffering his second concussion in two years in the Panthers' Week 11 contest against the Saints. Prior to then, the All-Pro linebacker averaged over 10 tackles per game, continuing to be a dominant IDP commodity. While his concussion history raises some concern over his long-term outlook, Kuechly will be back in action when the Panthers start spring practices and will look to remain healthy in 2017.
Kuechly (coach's decision) won't take the field Sunday in Tampa Bay.
Despite clearing the final stage of the concussion protocol on Dec. 17, Kuechly hasn't had the ear of head coach Ron Rivera, who has remained steadfast in the decision-making process as it pertains to the All-Pro middle linebacker on game day. Wrapping up his fifth campaign with six consecutive DNPs, Kuechly still managed to reach the century mark in tackles (102, to be exact). Moreover, his playmaking was evident, as he notched six passes defended (including one interception), two sacks, and one forced fumble in 10 contests.
Head coach Ron Rivera (and, by proxy, the
|P2||8/19/17||@ TEN||3:00 pm|
|P3||8/24/17||@ JAC||7:30 pm|
|1||9/10/17||@ SF||4:25 pm|
|4||10/1/17||@ NE||1:00 pm|
|5||10/8/17||@ DET||1:00 pm|
|7||10/22/17||@ CHI||1:00 pm|
|8||10/29/17||@ TB||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 11|
|12||11/26/17||@ NYJ||1:00 pm|
|13||12/3/17||@ NO||1:00 pm|
|17||12/31/17||@ ATL||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|