A Carolina Panthers injury update has been given for Luke Kuechly. During a Week 6 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Kuechly suffered a concussion while rushing the quarterback. He had to be removed from the game and entered into the concussion protocol that is mandated by the NFL. A report by ESPN states that he has advanced in that process, but his status for the Week 7 game against the Chicago Bears is still up in the air.

While Panthers head coach Ron Rivera didn’t go into exact detail, nor did he address the original reports from the team stating that there was no Luke Kuechly concussion, he did speak about the anchor of his defense.

“The biggest thing is he’s in the protocol, he’s advancing it and we’ll just see how he is tomorrow. He had a good day, and we’ll see how he is tomorrow.”

What Kuechly has to do to play against Bears

There are five steps that Luke Kuechly has to go through before he can be cleared to play in another game for the Carolina Panthers. He succeeded in the rest and recovery phase and has reportedly completed the light aerobic exercise step. Next up for Kuechly will be to go through the continued aerobic exercise and an introduction of strength training to his day. If he moves through that step without and side-effects from the concussion, he can advance to football-specific activities and then seek clearance from an independent neurological consultant.

Due to the history that Kuechly has with concussions, which includes missing three games during the 2015 NFL season and then three more for a second concussion during the 2016 NFL season, the team will be cautious with his return. If Kuechly is unable to play against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, then third-year player David Mayo is going to start in his place at middle linebacker.

That’s a big step back for the defense, but the small favor for the team is that the opponent is only the Bears.

Panthers injury updates

This is considered a fluid situation and more Carolina Panthers injury updates on Luke Kuechly are expected in the next few days. He is officially listed as questionable for the Week 7 game, suggesting that the team has a positive outlook on the situation.

How Kuechly responds to each step in the concussion protocol and whether he suffers any further symptoms will determine whether he gets cleared to play.

Currently, the Panthers hold first place in the NFC South, but the Atlanta Falcons are right on their heels. With Cam Newton leading the way, the Panthers have looked much better on offense, including a really nice win over the Detroit Lions. Losing Luke Kuechly on defense for any length of time would put the team in a bad position, though, which is why fans of the team will be paying very close attention to this evolving situation.